New rules on auto repair have come into force in the European Union, allowing greater competition in the marketplace.
The new rules, analogous to the Right to Repair push in North America, focus on agreements between vehicle manufacturers and authorized dealers, repairers, and parts distributors.
They are expected to increase competition in the market for repair and maintenance by improving access to technical information needed for repairs, and making it easier to use aftermarket parts.
The rules will also crack down on manufacturers’ abuse of warranties by requiring cars be serviced only in authorized garages.
Repair bills account for an estimated 40% of the total cost of owning a car and costs have been rising in recent years. The new rules will also reduce distribution costs for new cars, which can represent up to 30% of the purchase price.
“I strongly believe the new framework will bring tangible benefits for consumers by bringing down the cost of repairs and maintenance that represent an excessive share of the total cost of a car over its lifetime. It will also reduce the cost of distribution by doing away with overly restrictive rules,” said Joaquin Almunia, vice-president of the commission and competition commissioner, in a statement. The new rules came into force on June 1, 2010 as concerns the repair and maintenance markets, and will bow in June 1, 2013 with regard to vehicle sales markets. The agreement is set to expire May 31, 2023.