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Welcome to 

The Voice of European vehicle dealers and repairers

Representing 336,720 enterprises of automotive trade and repair businesses

What does CECRA do?

CECRA is the European umbrella organisation regrouping national automotive trade associations and European brand dealer councils

Acting as a watchdog, ensuring the interests of authorized dealers and repairers are taken into due account by European regulatory bodies

CECRA's 'Best Practice'

platform offers its members a real added value enabling them to learn more about new tendencies and best practices in place

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Latest News

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The Independent Service Providers urge the EU Commission to end the delay on access to in-vehicle data legislation

Brussels, 24/01/2023

A vast majority of the automotive and mobility services ecosystem together with consumers urge the European Commission to urgently propose an effective sector-specific legislation on access to in-vehicle data.

The Independent Service Providers (ISPs) grouping have written to President von der Leyen and the relevant College of Commissioners to put an end to the repeated delays in proposing legislation on access to in-vehicle data, functions and resources. Doing so would unleash the untapped potential to create real competition in Europe’s data-driven automotive and mobility markets.

The ISP Group commented:

“The Commission committed to bringing forward access to in-vehicle data legislation in December 2020 by the end of 2021.  We’re now in 2023 and the proposal has been delayed yet again.  Despite six years of painstaking Commission evidence-gathering and previous strategic policy plans, the vast majority of the sector are left in limbo and investment decisions are delayed in the face of substantial market barriers that benefit just one segment of a potentially huge market.

 

We urge the Commission President to get this process back on track.  This legislation is vital to unblock the automotive and mobility services sector market.  Almost every European uses some form of mobility every day and they should be able to enjoy the benefits of data-driven innovation, choice and affordability in the automotive and mobility ecosystem.  Today they can’t.  The Commission must rectify this.”

 

The Commission has a rich history of market-enabling legislation from telecoms to aviation, rail and energy.  The recent series of legislative measures part of the European Data Strategy addresses significant market distortions that will enable a more vibrant and competitive European Internet economy that is not captive to a few dominant players.  Yet, it seems completely anomalous that, despite all the evidence gathered over the last six years, the European automotive and mobility ecosystem continues to face all the same market barriers and distortions that the EU itself has addressed in the wider EU Data Strategy series of regulations for the Internet economy, including the increasing dependency on the technology platforms of the hyperscalers.

 

All the 10 associations urge the Commission to get the regulatory process for a sector-specific regulation on ‘access to in-vehicle data & resources’ back on track immediately so that there is time for the co-legislators to scrutinise and adopt the text before the end of the Parliamentary term in May 2024.

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Background

The Independent Service Providers (ISPs) grouping represents a wide range of operators in the European automotive aftermarket and mobility service providers who are investing in the development of digitalised services and data-driven innovation. However, the ISPs are currently hampered by the restricted access to data that stems from the privileged access by-design system built into the car that confers a dominant position and competitive advantage to the vehicle manufacturers.  This deprives the European mobility consumer and business user of greater choice through innovation and affordable mobility and aftermarket services.  This, in turn, jeopardises European competitiveness and other political objectives, such as greater access to safer, smarter and more sustainable mobility services.

Digital services in vehicles and everyday mobility are rich in potential and can actively support and accelerate the whole EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility agenda.  However, they are developing more slowly than they should in Europe because up until now, vehicle manufacturers have privileged control of the data generated by the vehicles they sell – but do not own – to the detriment of the vehicle owner.  This advantage is compounded by the increasing dependency on the technology platforms of the hyperscalers. Such platforms are regulated by the EU Data Strategy series of regulations for the mainstream Internet economy, but not in the vehicle, despite their rapidly growing role in this sector in partnership with vehicle manufacturers.

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More transparency in the current contract discussions between brands and their networks

Brussels, 16/12/2022

The automotive world is currently undergoing a radical transformation, both in terms of technology and sales and after-sales. Driven by the European Union to invest in the electrification of vehicles, manufacturers are tending to reduce distribution costs. This is manifested in particular by the replacement of initial distribution contracts by agent contracts. The organization of these networks is governed, at national and European levels, by legal principles which aim to protect the interests of commercial partners and to preserve competition for the benefit of the end customer.

 

In this context, contract negotiations, which are accelerating in many brands, show an attempt by some manufacturers to capture value from the distributors, but also more broadly from the entire automotive value chain (recycling, leasing, etc.), at a time when manufacturers are recording unprecedented profits. The economic dialogue on the future of the distribution network, which is not transparent, leads to the implementation of new, totally unbalanced contracts. Indeed, several car manufacturers refuse to lay their cards on the table and do not communicate the main contractual terms to all stakeholders. The information is incomplete and deliberately given very late, suggesting not a sharing of value, but a transfer of value to the detriment of distributors.

 

CECRA urgently requests the lifting of the confidentiality clauses as they do not allow for a transparent dialogue and balanced negotiations between manufacturers and distributors. The current discussions are generating a deterioration of the economic climate within the sector, suggesting an economic destabilization unprecedented in the history of the automotive trade. By capturing value, it will deteriorate the local entrepreneurial fabric. Finally, it will cut back on innovation in the service sector, to the detriment of the competitiveness of companies.

 

Indeed, according to the results of a survey conducted by CECRA’s French member Mobilians among a panel of dealers and agents of all brands, 60% of distributors declare that they are not informed about the contracts under discussion (70% among agents), while 80% of them are not ready to sign them (85% among agents).

 

A takeover of the value chain by car manufacturers

Since the non-renewal of the Block Exemption Regulation (BER) n°1400/2002 of 31 July 2002, specific to motor vehicle distribution, and the attachment of this sector to the general regulation, in 2010, then in 2022, the legal situation of the motor vehicle trade sector has profoundly weakened and the dependency of dealers on manufacturers has increased considerably through the increase of the importance of investments and the restriction of the commercial freedom of distributors. The implementation by many manufacturers of new, totally unbalanced distribution contracts, based on the model of agency constitutes a new step in this direction.

 

The change in the model of these manufacturers, aiming to control the sources of profits from vehicles, is based on the shift of its economic centre of gravity from production to services in the broadest sense of the term. From sales to recycling, these manufacturers are developing a genuine global strategy of capturing the entire automotive value chain.

 

Concerns about current negotiation topics relate to the following items for both dealers and agents: 1. Remuneration and commercial policy; 2. Transfer and valuation of the business; 3. Legal architecture of the contract; 4. Level of coverage of activity-specific costs for brands and market specific investments wishing to switch to an agent contract; 5. Control of used car trading.

The agents also underline their concerns regarding the capture of ownership of customer data, as well as the purchase of spare parts.

 

Respect of all legal obligations by all parties

If the move to agency models is confirmed, and as CECRA relayed at Connect Europe in mid-September, distributors are demanding that manufacturers' agency contracts respect all the legal obligations of this particular distribution model and do not include clauses from other distribution models to their exclusive advantage (#CONNECTEurope 2022 successful event "NO" to the non-genuine agency contracts and Non genuine agency contracts are potentially an anti-competitive practice). "Whatever distribution model manufacturers deploy, a fundamental aspect is that, whether it is a dealer or an agent, they need an economically viable business model, otherwise the future of car distribution, repair and maintenance will be disrupted," said the dealer and agent networks present at Connect Europe.

 

CECRA has already expressed its concerns : there are quite specific requirements for a manufacturer-dealer relationship in order for it to be treated as ‘agency’.  There is no legal framework for a ‘non-genuine agency’ – such arrangements are effectively just a modified franchise.  However, if a manufacturer tried to steer pricing centrally under a non-genuine agency or retail pricing was effectively fixed because there was no realistic opportunity for the dealer to negotiate prices, then the competition authorities are on standby to intervene in such arrangements

 

Considerable damage to local employment

This change of model is not intended to create value, but to transfer the value usually produced by their partners in automotive services into the hands of certain manufacturers, whose profits have literally soared, resulting in a significant drop in turnover and sales margins for distribution and repair companies. Many companies will not be able to resist the drying up of their business and will be forced to disappear, an outcome anticipated by certain manufacturers, some of whom have already announced a reduction in the scope of their network.

 

This movement will primarily affect the local employment fabric in medium-sized cities and smaller towns, in sparsely populated areas, where distribution and automotive service networks have a very important economic weight.

 

The direction taken therefore leads to a destabilization of the distribution network and the degradation of local employment, materialized by the disappearance of direct and indirect jobs. Today, automotive distribution and repair represent 2,9 million jobs throughout Europe, which cannot be relocated, in contrast to industry, which has largely relocated.

 

A deterioration in service to the European citizens and their access to mobility is to be expected

The movements at work suggest a deterioration in car service for the European citizens in areas where, by definition, manufacturers will not invest because they are less profitable. The control by certain manufacturers of the entire value chain and retail prices cancelling any intrabrand competition will mechanically lead to vehicle price inflation. Consumer choice will be severely limited and free price formation will come under pressure.

It should be remembered that vehicle prices have increased very much with the trend only set to increase due to the current general environment.

 

The acceptability of vehicle prices to consumers is becoming a growing problem, particularly the most vulnerable and those living in rural or sparsely populated areas, being the first to be affected in their access to mobility. Behind access to mobility, it is also access to employment and, more broadly, economic and social life that are penalised.

In this context, as the Low Emission Zones are implemented in most cities in Europe, the citizens will be faced with a double impossibility - that of using their old vehicle, but also of buying a new one in the face of inflationary drift.

A European legislative vacuum

The non-renewal of the Block Exemption Regulation (BER) n°1400/2002 of 31 July 2002, specific to motor vehicle distribution, and the attachment of this sector to the general regulation, in 2010, then in 2022, have profoundly weakened the legal situation of the motor vehicle trade sector.

In a European regulatory context that does not provide a sufficient framework for contractual practices between manufacturers and distributors, many European countries have chosen to regulate distribution by means of specific legislative provisions in their national law, with the aim of preserving the ability of distributors to contribute to the local economy: this is the case in Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and, more recently, this summer in Italy.

 

These national legislative provisions provide for the obligation for car manufacturers or importers to compensate for unamortised investments made by their distributors and/or a right to compensation for the latter at the end of the contract. Indeed, in the context where certain manufacturers are undertaking to replace selective distribution contracts by agency contracts, aimed at controlling the price of sales of new vehicles to consumers, such provisions at national level require, on the one hand, that these manufacturers assume the burden of all the investments necessary for the marketing of new vehicles and their brand and, on the other hand, in accordance with the Council Directive 86/653/EEC of 18 December 1986 on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents, that they pay compensation for the loss suffered by the agent solely as a result of the termination of the agency contract (1).

 

(1) This directive makes a distinction according to whether the agent is responsible for negotiating and/or concluding business:  “For the purposes of this Directive, ‘commercial agent’ shall mean a self-employed intermediary who has continuing authority to negotiate the sale or the purchase of goods on behalf of another person, hereinafter called the ‘principal’, or to negotiate and conclude such transactions on behalf of and in the name of that principal.”

But the Directive therefore makes no difference between an intermediary acting in the name and on behalf of the principal, or in his name or on behalf of the principal.

 

The Commission's 2010 Guidelines on Vertical Restraints as well as the 2022 Guidelines clarify that an agent is a person who can act either on his own behalf or on behalf of the principal.

Indeed, the 2022 Guidelines specifically define the agency agreement as follows: "3.2.1. Agency contracts not covered by Article 101(1) of the Treaty: (29) An agent is a legal or natural person entrusted with the power to negotiate and/or conclude contracts on behalf of another person (‘the principal’), either in the agent’s own name or in the name of the principal, for the purchase of goods or services by the principal, or the sale of goods or services supplied by the principal”.

 

The transposition of the Directive in several countries notably Austria, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Spain does not represent any problem. Unfortunately, in other national laws, the agent is in these countries systematically someone who acts in the name and on behalf of the principal. CECRA reminds that national law must always be interpreted in accordance with European law. There is indeed a principle in European law that the national court must interpret any provision of national law in conformity with the applicable provisions of Union law in order to avoid potential conflicts between European law and national law. This principle has been clearly recalled with regard to directives, notably in the Von Colson and Kamann case of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Member States are therefore obliged to achieve the result provided for by a directive. This means that we could argue that the national laws on agency contracts must be interpreted in the light of the European directive which provides that both persons acting on behalf of the principal and those acting in their own name are considered as commercial agents.

 

In order to avoid any debate on the substance and any disillusionment, it seems to us necessary that the parties to the agency contract clearly specify their status in the contract.

In the last few days we have heard of delays to a number of the planned implementations of agency agreements in Europe, sometimes for some countries at least.

 

Manufacturers who are still in the planning phase will hopefully also take note of the delays, and reconsider their own timeline and whether they have fully considered all economical and legal implications of their choice.  This transition is by no means simply a contract change, but in fact is a fundamental change in the manufacturer-dealer relationship that has huge implications for roles and responsibilities, and for the people who staff the operations on both sides. A real dialogue is necessary between the brands and their networks in a transparent- via the waive of the confidentiality clauses- and constructive manner from both sides.

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CECRA welcomes the Euro 7 proposal setting more ambitious vehicle emission standards

Brussels, 15/11/2022

On November 10th, the European Commission published its proposal for the new Euro 7 emissions standard for cars, vans, lorries and buses. The proposal sets out provisions and requirements on vehicle emissions and battery durability and aims at ensuring the internal coherence of the system of emission type-approvals. 

CECRA welcomes the Commission’s efforts in continuing proposing solutions to reduce pollutant emissions. Actions must be taken to limit the impact of the environment. Euro 7 will undoubtedly contribute to a more sustainable automotive industry and reduce pollutant emissions.

Besides Euro 7, CECRA urges policymakers to focus on measures that would accelerate fleet renewal by offering European buyers incentives to ensure a smooth transition to zero-emission vehicles. This with a clear impact on both air quality and reduced CO2 emissions.

The proposal will now be examined by the European Parliament and Council. CECRA will thoroughly examine the impact it might have on its sector and will closely follow up the discussions held within the Parliament and Council. 

Once the Regulation adopted, the date for entry into force is July 1 2025 for cars and vans and July 1 2027 for new heavy-duty vehicles.

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EU strengthens CO2 emissions targets for new cars and vans

Brussels, 28/10/2022

Yesterday, representatives of the European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on stricter CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans: 55% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and 50% for new vans by 2030 compared to 2021 levels and 100% CO2 emission reduction for both new cars and vans by 2035 putting an end to internal combustion engines by 2035.

Whereas at the end of June, the 27 Environment Ministers had already come to that agreement, its has now been ratified by all European institutions. 

The agreement includes a review clause that will ensure that in 2026, the Commission assess the progress made towards achieving the 100% emission reduction targets and the need to review these targets taking into account technological developments, including with regard to plug-in hybrid technologies and the importance of a viable and socially equitable transition towards zero emissions.

CECRA looks forward to the outcome of the Commission’s assessment report as well as the initiative of launching off the process towards a legislative proposal to create a fund to ensure a fair and smooth transition.

Automotive dealers and repairers will together with their manufacturers level up and reach the set targets. 

However, CECRA is still in favour of technology diversity ensuring the most efficient and effective approach to cutting emissions prevails and to ensure a manageable transition.

Technology diversity includes full electrification, hybrid drivetrains and vehicles running on hydrogen, either in gas engines or fuel cells. All of these technologies are climate neutral if running on renewable energy, in the form of green electricity or renewable hydrogen and fuels.

CECRA also reiterate its request to all EU Member States to speed up the deployment of a widespread infrastructure of recharging stations as it goes without saying that the transition to zero-emission vehicles is only possible if those recharging stations are available! 

At the end, the consumers will be the ones who will decide in buying zero-emission vehicles taking into account they have already to bear high inflation rates and energy prices which are putting enormous pressure on their spending power.

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Energy crisis: Impact on competitiveness of EU auto sector

Brussels, 21/10/2022

Rising energy prices and increased production costs are putting the entire automotive ecosystem under strain. High inflation rates, unprecedented concerns about energy prices and supply, and lower incomes for Europeans are alarming the whole value chain, from the largest manufacturers to the smallest SMEs, as well as the aftermarket. The sector appreciates recent policy initiatives at the national and European levels. However, uncertainties about the implementation and effectiveness of these measures persist. A structured dialogue with the sector is therefore urgently needed.

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From left to right - Jaime Barea (GANVAM - Spain); Matti Pörhö (EDC VW/AUDI); Gustav Oberwallner - Honorary Officer (WKÖ - Austria); Bernard Lycke - Director General (CECRA); Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt - Immediate Past President (Mobilians - France); Geert Brummelhuis (BOVAG - The Netherlands); Peter Daeninck - New President (Traxio - Belgium); Mathias Albert (VMH - Germany); Gerard ten Buuren (BOVAG - The Netherlands); Nicolas Lenormant (Mobilians - France); Timo Niemi (AKL - Finland); Sandy Burgess (SMTA - Scotland/UK); Rodrigo Ferreira da Silva (ARAN - Portugal) - Missing on the picture: A. Koopmans (BOVAG - The Netherlands) and R. Moraud - Honorary Officer (Mobilians - France)

#CONNECTEurope 2022 successful event

"NO" to the non-genuine agency contracts

Brussels, 16/09/2022

CECRA and Infopro Digital, a French press group, just held its 2nd edition of #CONNECTEurope, a European and International forum on automotive distribution. The successful event, organised in Barcelona, was attended by 250 participants being automotive distributors and repairers of passenger cars & trucks around Europe, representatives of national & international trade associations advocating their interests, stakeholders within the automotive world as well as decision makers from the European institutions.

During the 1st plenary session, dedicated to the new distribution models and the new EU regulatory framework, experts presented and debated on how the automotive distributors’ business model will look alike in the near future. A general bitter feeling amongst dealers was felt as they consider being cast aside and mistrusted by their manufacturer(s). Dealers are not integrated nor informed about OEMs’ strategic plans. Therefore speculations have started and the most plausible evolution would be OEMs rolling out agency distribution models. If this would be the direction we are heading to, CECRA requests manufacturers’ agency contracts to comply to all the legal obligations of that particular distribution model and not including clauses from other distribution models to their advantage. From an economical point of view, manufacturers should not 'offer' such kind of contracts to their partners if they know that the proposed business model is not viable. CECRA is not per se opposed to the use of genuine agent contracts which can have positive elements for both manufacturers and current dealers but: "Whatever distribution model manufacturers will unroll, one fundamental aspect is that whether it is a distributor or an agent, they need an economic viable business model, otherwise the future of distributing, repairing and maintaining cars will be disrupted" was the conclusion of this session.

CECRA sees that in the contract proposals of OEMs based on the agency-model too many (commercial and legal) risks laid down at dealerships. This does not do justice to the existing relationship and is not good for future-proof retail and service to consumers. If agency contracts are considered, CECRA advocates opting for the real-agency model and calls on OEMs and dealer councils to make agreements in confidence and not in distrust.

The 2nd plenary session focussed on to new earning models of distributors and repairers. Hervé Mirallès, CEO Emil Frey France and Denis Gorteman, CEO D’ieteren Group emphasised the importance of ‘customer centricity’, accompanying customers and offering them the best solution which fully respond to their needs & expectations.  

The Spanish market was examined in detail during the 2nd day followed by extended presentations on the potentials of connected vehicles, their data and aftersales services.

Cross views on perspectives and practices were then discussed with the international delegations invited by CECRA: the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA, US), the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association (CADA), China Automotive Dealer Association (CADA China - remotely) and the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA).

In between the plenary sessions, 12 workshops took place dealing, amongst others, with in-vehicle data, its access, the used car market, electric & hydrogen mobility; new required skills and their training programmes, new consumption and financing habits and many more relevant topics.

CECRA also held its annual General Assembly during which its new Board of Directors had been elected. Peter Daeninck was elected new President of CECRA for the coming 3 years succeeding Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt who terminated its 2 consecutive 3-year mandate and who was a key-player in the organisation of this forum. Under his presidency, the renewal of both Block Exemption Regulations, future distribution models, access to in-vehicle data, SERMI were the most important topics discussed.

Peter Daeninck is active in the car distribution since 1990, since 1996 he is the CEO of Peter Daeninck Ltd, Daeninck Ltd and D.I.S.Ltd and seating in several non-profit professional organisation linked to automotive. The main lines of the new presidency will be steering automotive distributors and repairers through this unprecedented challenging and innovating times. He said: “The automotive industry is currently facing historic challenges. New vehicle architectures, technologies, mobility models and changing customer behaviours are transforming the entire automotive ecosystem at high speed. OEMs are optimizing the cost-to-serve and are providing customers with a seamless and compelling omnichannel experience. This evolution path will entail major implications, both for OEMs and their dealership network. OEMs know that their distribution network has a distinct advantage as their retailers have a face-to-face customer interaction, sales and service teams are in the perfect position to tailor their approach to every customer which enables them to engage appropriately and deliver a personal and relevant dialogue. An excellent experience for the customer builds loyalty and long-term retention. As the new President, it is my task to guide our members through this troubled and insecure times and try to let all European dealers and repairers speak with one voice.”

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Italy adopted amendment containing provisions protecting automotive dealers

Brussels, 08/09/2022

On September 5th, the Italian Senate adopted an amendment containing, amongst others, provisions regulating the contractual relationship between dealers and manufacturers for the distribution of motor vehicles. By introducing this new law, automotive dealers will have a better protection vis-à-vis their manufacturer. 

What does these new provisions entail?

  • Agreements between manufacturers and dealers have a minimum duration of 5 years;

  • Before the conclusion of the contract, or in case of modification of the contract, the manufacturer must provide the dealer with all the information necessary to assess the extent of the commitments to be made and their sustainability in economic, financial and equity terms, including an estimate of the expected marginal revenue. In other words, the contract must include the standards to be met, the responsibilities of the dealer, and full details of how costs and liabilities are to be divided between them and their manufacturer / importer;

  • In the event of termination, the manufacturer is obliged to pay fair compensation, proportionate to the value of the investments made and the goodwill for the activities carried out in the context of the execution of the agreement

Whilst the Vertical Block Exemption ‘VBER’ (EC) 2022/720 sets the overall European-level competition rules framework for vertical agreements and thereby acting on dealer agreements, automotive manufacturers shall of course also take into account national laws.

Also Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg have national provisions applicable in the contracts between manufacturers and dealers.

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EU Member States approve end of internal combustion engines by 2035

Brussels, 29/06/2022

During yesterday’s European Council, the 27 Environment Ministers came to a deal on the proposed laws aiming to achieve the European Commission’s climate objectives.

The 27 Member States approved only new cars and vans with zero CO2 emissions be permitted from 2035 onward and thereby banning sales of petrol and diesel cars and light commercial vehicles, including hybrids in the EU by 2035.

At the request of some EU countries, including Germany and Italy, the EU-27 also agreed to consider a future green light for the use of alternative technologies such as synthetic fuels or plug-in hybrids if they can achieve the complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Ministers also approved a five-year extension of the exemption from CO2 obligations granted to so-called "niche" manufacturers, or those producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year.

These measures will now have to be negotiated with MEPs.

The European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA) takes note of the Council’s decision. We are still convinced about the necessity of a technology-mix that embraces all relevant solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and therefore welcomes the openness and willingness to consider other technologies, such as hydrogen and synthetic fuel technology (e-fuels). 

Automotive dealers and repairers will together with their manufacturers level up and reach the set targets. However, it goes without saying that the transition to zero-emission vehicles is only reachable if a widespread infrastructure of recharging stations is available! CECRA therefore urges all EU Member States now to speed up its deployment ensuring a smooth transition and giving the EU consumers a clear sign taking away their reluctance to swift towards zero-emission vehicles.

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CECRA welcomes positive dialogue with EC Commissioner Breton

European aftermarket players have discussed with EC Commissioner Thierry Breton the Data Act and how it could pave the way to a sector specific legislation on accessing technical in-vehicles data functions and resources ensuring competition and innovation in the automotive aftermarket. 

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CECRA present at the FIA Forum

On 21 June, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the FIA Foundation held a Forum on Safe & Healthy Mobility in London entitled ‘Design for Life. For People & Planet’. The Forum brought together international policymakers to review progress in meeting the UN global targets to reduce road deaths and serious injuries ahead of the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on road safety, and to discuss air quality improvement and decarbonisation of road transportation. CECRA attended the event.  

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European Parliament voted to ban combustion engine cars from 2035

Brussels, 09/06/2022

The European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA) takes note of the European Parliament’s plenary vote of yesterday reducing 100% CO2 in 2035, prohibiting internal combustion engines.

CECRA supports, in principle, the overall political ambitions of the #Fitfor55 package. However, to achieve the climate objectives and not lose support in the long run, together with several other automotive stakeholders, it is still convinced about the necessity of a technology-mix that embraces ALL relevant solutions to reduce CO2 emissions without ignoring the varied realities of people's lives and industry’s needs. We need to achieve the right balance!

Decarbonising road transport should not be socially and economically disruptive. Recent developments such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine increase uncertainties. Raw material and energy prices have been on the rise for an extended period. The reliance on few supply sources poses critical risks to our European industrial base.

Electrification of mobility may help reducing fossil fuel imports in the long term but at the same time it bears the risk of creating new dependencies on raw material and battery cell imports, keeping value creation outside Europe.

As said, the automotive sales and repair businesses support all new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, however, it is essential to move forward offering a certain transitional period which is crucial to prepare our businesses for the upcoming challenges and thereby ensuring high qualified maintenance and repair of the cars of tomorrow.

The entire automotive value chain, including dealers and repairers, is facing enormous challenges to level up and to reach the set targets. We all share the same opinion that the deployment of massive sales of zero-emission vehicles is only reachable if an extended infrastructure of recharging stations is available! The industry as well as the overall public opinion are questioning the speed of its deployment. Many potential customers remain reluctant and will only swift towards zero-emission vehicles once a widespread recharging infrastructure is deployed. 

The European Council of Ministers will meet on 28 June. CECRA hopes Government ministers from each EU country will evaluate and take into account the above-mentioned uncertainties and take into account the arguments of all European stakeholders as well as the expectations of their respective citizens when deciding.

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The Council approved the Data Governance Act (DGA) 

Brussels, 17/05/2022

After the acceptance by the European Parliament, the Council has today approved a new law to promote the availability of data and build thereby a trustworthy environment to facilitate their use of research and the creation of innovative new services and products. The new rules will apply 15 months after the entry into force of the Regulation.

CECRA very much welcomes the principles and underlying objectives of the Data Act, particularly with regard to the regulation of B2C and B2B data sharing. We fully endorse the principle of the data sovereignty of Users of connected products, including their right to assign access to the data generated through the use of their products to 3rd party service providers of their choice.

While the general principles and provisions of the Data Act are very welcome, we see a real need for specific legislation for the Automotive sector, to translate the principles and provisions of the Data Act into concrete, legal and technical measures for the automotive sector.

After five years of extensive evidence-gathering, data collection[i] and discussions with all stakeholders, the European Commission newly publicly committed in February 2022 to updating type approval regulation, making it fit for the digital age and for the green transition. This would include regulation of access to in-vehicle data, as a sector specific complementary legislation to the Data Act. The objective of promoting innovation in the automotive and mobility sector.

CECRA has always been open to discuss with all relevant stakeholders solutions with the aim to reinforce consumers rights, the separation of duties and to enhance competition in the market for automotive and mobility services.

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[1]The European Commission (EC) has over five years undertaken extensive evidence-gathering and data collection on the barriers to a level playing field for ‘Access to in-vehicle data and resources’ in the automotive aftermarket and mobility sector. It has engaged with all stakeholders, launched numerous public consultations and studies (e.g. JRC Study), and established a dedicated Working Group, which, over a six-month period, looked into what the market needs  for innovation, effective competition, and consumer choice to be ensured in the context of an increasingly digitalised automotive sector. In 2018 AFCAR was also requested by the European Commission to participate in a Proof of Concept (PoC) to assess vehicle manufacturers’ Extended Vehicle (ExVe) model against the needs of the wider automotive servicing sector as regards the access to in-vehicle data and resources.

This fact-finding effort culminated in 2021 in a study on Policy Options, commissioned by DG GROW from TRL. This Study confirmed previous findings about the barriers to in-vehicle data and resources resulting in access for the whole eco-system being limited. TRL confirmed that this access problem is rooted in vehicle manufacturers’ closed telematics systems, which significantly impede third-party operators from competing in digital products and services.

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