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
Important communication from the Stellantis group about future dealer and authorised repairers contracts
20 May 2021
Yesterday, the Stellantis Group announced it will terminate all sales and service distribution contracts by 31 May next. The Group is reorganising its distribution and has given two years’ notice to all its sales and service partners. It plans to build a multi-brand distribution model which it will launch in June 2023.
Only in some cases dealers have been approached. There is no letter of intent. Representatives of dealer organisations will be approached and will be actively involved in the development of future sales plans and strategies. In recent years, the manufacturer has already started to merge the Peugeot and Citroën networks with that of Opel. The new distribution network will be selected on the basis of key objective drivers and criteria.
Stellantis, which operates brands including Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Jeep, is making the move ahead of the new Block Exemption regulations which are due to come in on 1st June 2022 for the general rules and 1st June 2023 for the motor rules.
CECRA, together with its Citroën, Opel and Peugeot European Dealer Councils members will follow carefully the evolution.
This radical decision only comes less than two months after the Austrian Supreme Cartel Court banned its Peugeot brand from tying dealers payments to customer satisfaction surveys and from subsidising vehicle prices sold at its manufacturer-owned sales outlets. The case arose following a long legal dispute between Austrian Peugeot dealer Büchl and PSA's Peugeot Austria, in which Büchl claimed Peugeot's national sales company was abusing its market power and in breach of competition law.
CECRA and all dealers across Europe took note of the decision of the Supreme Court which should be taken into account together with the new EU rules to pave the way to a balanced distribution model between manufacturers and their networks after June 2023.
SAVE THE DATE for the European and International Automotive & Mobility Forum
CECRA, the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs, is organizing, in co-operation with Infopro Digital Group, the 1st European and International Forum on Automotive & Mobility #CONNECT Europe in Evian on 20 and 21 September 2021.
The event will host European and international leaders from the upstream and downstream automotive world as well as decision makers from the European institutions. Based on all the know-how and common ambition, this event will allow to debate on a real European mobility and to have a clear view of the entire European automotive ecosystem.
During these two days, which will include three plenary sessions and twelve workshops, three main themes will be tackled which are crucial for employment, training and competitivity: Green Deal and the future of mobility; Big Data & Connectivity and The future distribution models.
Creating a level playing field for vehicle data access in the interest of consumers: Secure On-board Telematics Platform Approach
30 March 2021
A large coalition representing automotive dealers, aftermarket and consumers is calling on the European Union to take on board its proposal for a Secure On-board Telematics Platform (S-OTP) when legislating on access to in-vehicle data. In the detailed document, “Creating a level playing field for vehicle data access: Secure On-board Telematics Platform Approach”, publishers of technical information, body repairers, dealers and workshops, garage equipment suppliers, tyre manufacturers, road patrols, parts distributors and leasing and rental companies, as well as consumers, provide technical and commercial arguments sustaining their recommendation.
It is the only solution guaranteeing true consumer choice, effective competition and free entrepreneurship in a secure and technology-neutral manner.
With the advent of the connected car, competition now starts in the vehicle where the ability to safely and securely access in-vehicle data, functions and resources determines the quality of the service. The intention of the S-OTP is therefore to ensure that consumers can still choose and rely on service providers, many of them SMEs, to benefit from innovative, competitive and affordable services and products, improving road mobility, safety and sustainability. To do so, service providers have to be able to compete with all mobility stakeholders, some of whom might be tempted to act as “gatekeepers” through proprietary access methods to in-vehicle data.
As a solution addressing the challenges of true consumer choice, security and free entrepreneurship in the automotive services sector, the S-OTP is based on some key characteristics, such as:
Consumer is in full control regarding the access to in-vehicle data;
A clear separation of duties, with free management of access control for all service providers, including vehicle manufacturers;
Unmonitored and undistorted communication between in-vehicle services and their respective back ends;
Independent customer contract/direct consent management and service offering without the interposition of the vehicle manufacturer;
Standardised access to in-vehicle networks via safe and secure software interfaces enabling bi-directional communication with the vehicle;
The ability to safely interact with the driver through the vehicles human-machine interfaces.
Enabling effective competition in the automotive aftermarket, the S-OTP would benefit consumers and society at large, by:
Empowering consumers by ensuring their rights on privacy and widening their choice of service providers;
Boosting innovation and facilitating the digital transformation of mobility and the deployment of a digital ecosystem of services;
Contributing to the European Union’s path to become a frontrunner in connected and autonomous mobility and related services.
The S-OTP concept is in line with the European institutions’ ambitious goals to foster innovation and legislate in a way that works for the modern economy. The initial concept has been enriched to take into account the increased (cyber-)security requirements, by including certification of service providers and a robust approach to the development of secure applications, which consumers and operators can choose to install in their vehicles.
The coalition of associations has fed this concept into the study conducted by TRL on behalf of the European Commission, and invite the European legislators to take into account this detailed and complete solution (which enables consumers, vehicles and independent businesses to go smarter, safer, greener) when assessing legislative options.
Austrian Supreme Court rules that Peugeot Austria has abused market power against independent dealers
26 March 2021
Source: Competition Counseling & Research Peter Thyri
On March 22, 2021 the Austrian Supreme Cartel Court upheld the Cartel Court‘s earlier decision of May 12, 2020 in a legal dispute between Austrian Peugeot dealer Büchl and Peugeot Austria (PSA), that the general importer for Peugeot vehicles in Austria abused its market power vis-à-vis Büchl in violation of Austrian and European competition law. Büchl had turned to the cartel court because, like many other Peugeot dealers in Austria and Europe, it claimed to suffer from PSA‘s suffocating system of requirements and non-transparent reimbursement conditions.
The Supreme Court has banned Peugeot from tying the dealer‘s premium payments to customer satisfaction surveys; reducing the dealer‘s margin if they do not reach sales targets inflated by PSA and competing with dealers through subsidized vehicle prices on the end customer market at PSA’s own, vertically integrated sales outlets. Also, an elaborate control system for guarantee and warranty work and hourly rates that did not cover the dealers costs is prohibited, as those measures make guarantee and warranty work unprofitable for dealers. Finally, PSA may no longer pass on the costs of its mystery shopping and audit system for the new car and workshop business to dealers.
The Supreme Court recognizes that PSA economically forces dealers to take part in promotions and thereby restricting dealers’ freedom of setting their own prices. While the Cartel Court of first instance is requested to further complete its findings and decide anew as to this point, all the other points are now legally binding and must be implemented by PSA within three months time.
The Supreme Court stresses that its decision applies to all contractual relationships in which similar economic dependencies exist and awaits considerable changes in the remuneration system of PSA. The Supreme Court also clearly points to the parallel applicability of European competition law and elaborates on the finding of a dominant position on the part of the importer as well as on the treatment of abusive clauses in contractual relationships under Art 102 TFEU.
PSA's remuneration system must be adjusted within the deadline set by the Supreme Court. For other brands ‘networks – especially those of the newly formed Stellantis-Group directly affected by the decision – the judgement can serve as a valuable guideline to legal safety. It will also have to be discussed how numerous Peugeot dealers subject to the abusive conditions can be reimbursed for the loss in remuneration they suffered over the years as a consequence of PSA’s violation of the prohibition to abuse a dominant position.
CECRA and its Austrian member WKÖ welcome the decision of the Supreme Court as a breakthrough in their decade-long struggle for more fairness in the manufacturer-dealer relationship in Austrian and European car markets. Especially in light of all current radical changes and challenges, the judgment paves the way for a new partnership in the automotive industry.