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
During the first plenary session, dedicated to Green Deal, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans set out the Commission’s goal and plans for making Europe the 1st climate continent by 2050. In his speech, he addressed the audience by saying that the automotive industry and its services have an important role to play in the transition to a climate neutral future. Transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions have been on the rise. The bulk of that is caused by passenger cars. To bring these emissions down, he invites the whole industry to accelerate its efforts and to increase the market share of electric vehicles. He added, as it will have a serious impact on car dealerships and repair shops, a transition plan is therefore needed. As regard the social impact, he invites the industry to share thoughts and ideas on how best workers could switch jobs.
In the role out of the charging infrastructures, an acceleration is also needed. The Commission is therefore proposing ambitious and binding targets per member state to deploy the publicly available infrastructure.
There is a real need to prepare and adapt the entire mobility system. It includes the shift towards clean transport modes like cycling and zero emission transport, as well as to review the tax systems.
Timmermans concluded by saying that he counts on the automotive ecosystem representatives to help the Commission to get a transition that will be bold and that will leave no one behind.
The ensuing debate clearly showed the will of all to move towards CO2 reduction at full speed, but that in the short transition period, defined by the Commission, hybrid cars for long journeys with light batteries that consume less CO2 and electric vehicles for short urban journeys were still necessary to carry out the transition and to have time to train new skills. The rapid replacement of the most polluting cars with subsidies for low-income households, the development of hydrogen research, the use of alternative fuels and the acceleration of the development of fast-charging systems should be the priorities. The participants therefore decided to establish a more precise schedule and a fair distribution of tasks in the coming months.
The connectivity and digitalisation, dealt with in detail within the second plenary session, evoked some intensive discussions. It goes without saying that connected in-vehicle data is key. Several associations including CECRA, the automotive aftermarket operators, mobility services and consumers developed a system called S-OTP, a secure on-board telematics platform, which allows accessing data and functions emitted by the vehicle under the same conditions as manufacturers. However, the opinions between manufacturers’ association ACEA and aftermarket players were diverging, the session ended with a rather positive note. ACEA’s Director General Eric-Mark Huitema reached out to CECRA to continue the negotiations taking into account that in the end it is up to the customer to decide upon his data.
The focus of the 2nd day was put on the future automotive distribution models. Natalia Lazarova, the Head of Unit Antitrust at the Commission, set out the regulations applicable to the automotive distribution and repair sector. Both regulations are currently under review. She very much welcomed the event as through these exchanges, the Commission better understands the needs of the automotive players. The Commission is at present drafting the new rules. She invites CECRA’s members to send their comments to the last consultation round.
Klaus Zellmer, member of the Board of Management Sales, Marketing and After Sales of Volkswagen passenger cars, said VW has implemented an agency distribution model for specific products (e.g. electric vehicles) since one year. In order to assess tomorrow’s challenges, OEMs need to be more connected with their customers. The agency model would permit them to do so. The established network of dealers would be integrated into this new model as they have an essential role to play in the overall process of the customer’s buying process and experience. Being at the front desk, guiding and assisting customers in the technicalities and specificities of that good is fundamental.
Christian Bourgeon, lawyer specialized in distribution law, spoke about the legal details between a franchise and agent contract. These will further intensively be examined and discussed at CECRA dedicated working group. Nicolas Lenormant, a French truck dealer, and Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt, President of CECRA said as dealers start to make huge investments to ease energetic transition, it is highly important that new contracts would not create more precarity on their business. An exclusive distribution system or, at least a moratorium would be appreciated in this very challenging and sensitive period.
Bernard Lycke, General Director of CECRA, explained that it is up to OEMs to decide upon which distribution model to unroll. However, they shall indeed respect the contract conditions linked to that particular model put in place. As partners, manufacturers and dealers need to start off their bilateral discussions on the details of the future envisaged distribution models in order to make sure to come to a win-win situation and not to a one side approach which could lead to a demotivation of the networks and therefore result into an undesirable outcome.
This message was relayed by Rhett Ricard, Chairman 2020 of the American dealer association NADA and representatives of Chinese, Brazilian and Russian dealer associations which supported the European sales and repair firm standpoints and underlined the importance of dealers in their respective countries.
The assembly, through several witnesses including Thomas Martin, HR Director of the Frey Group in France, insisted on the fact that the transformation within the automotive industry will furthermore have a huge impact on jobs. Skilling, reskilling and upskilling is essential to make sure workers are not left behind. They shall be trained in conformity to the upcoming changes enabling them to perform high qualified repairs and maintenance of the future car park and by this means to ensure compliance to environmental standards and above all to guarantee road safety.
Francis Bartholomé, President of the French national association CNPA, underlined the same urgencies during the gala dinner speech. ‘Challenges are ahead, it is time to act and to put all actors around the table for the sustainability of all our companies and our workers”.
Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt, President of CECRA, said the conference has clearly sounded the alarm and the risk of not accelerating in the face of competitors who have taken the lead. It has allowed all stakeholders to start looking in the same direction in order to find efficient and cost-effective solutions in the coming months. They will be used to move forward quickly because it is time to move on and to work together to prepare the shift. Both Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt and Christophe Carignano said: "a 2nd edition of #CONNECTEurope will be organized next year to take stock of all the progress made".
CECRA and Infopro Digital have just closed their 2-day conference on Europe’s automotive mobility #CONNECTEurope with great success. The event hosted approx. 150 participants representing European and International leaders from the up & downstream automotive world as well as decision makers from the European institutions
Ahead of the European Commission’s Workshop on “Access to In-Vehicle Data” scheduled on the 17th of September next, a broad coalition, of which CECRA is part, representing automotive aftermarket operators, vehicle dealers, mobility services and consumers urges the European Commission to publish an ambitious legislative proposal on access to in-vehicle data by the first quarter of 2022 at the latest.
The ongoing lack of access to in-vehicle data and functions increasingly jeopardizes our ability to compete in digital products and services and to provide customers, both consumers and fleet owners/operators, with the digital services they expect. The recent TRL Study Report commissioned by the European Commission depicts these problems, which are rooted in vehicle manufacturers’ closed telematics systems. Another study, commissioned by the consumers organisation FIA Region I, showed that if this model would continue to establish itself, it could lead to consumers and independent service providers having to absorb additional costs of around €65 billion per year by 2030.
It is therefore time to act! After already lengthy investigations and several postponements since 2018, the draft legislation should be put in the legislative loop no later than the first quarter of 2022 to have a chance to go through the complete ordinary legislative procedure. Any delay could result in this major legislation protecting consumers and SMEs being delayed to the next terms of the European Commission and of the European Parliament, putting at risk the competitiveness and the survival of the 500.000 companies and 4,5 million jobs we represent.
A robust and ambitious sector-specific legislation is needed. What is at stake is too important to be handled with soft measures . A principles-based legislation underpinned by specific technical and legal requirements is needed to guarantee equal access to the vehicle, its data, functions and communication with the users. This legislation must address the systemic problems which have unequivocally been identified over the last years. It must be efficient and robust enough to remain relevant over several years. The specificities, the complexity and the importance of the automotive market require a sector-specific legislation and cannot be addressed in the broader horizontal initiatives in the framework of the European Data Strategy.
There is a simple solution: mandating a Secure On-Board Telematics Platform (S-OTP). The S-OTP is a set of requirements based on equipment which is already in the vehicle and on existing standards, involving no additional device. It puts the consumers/drivers in control, enabling them to freely choose which service providers have access to which technical data and for which purpose. Only services which are independently assessed, tested and approved could be chosen by the consumers. It is fully in line with the European Union’s objectives in terms of data privacy, cybersecurity, digitalisation, and enhancement of road mobility. We have published earlier this year a detailed technical description of what the S-OTP would be and how it would work, and today we release a set of videos to explain it in a shorter way. This video explains clearly how digitalisation is transforming road mobility, how the S-OTP is the perfect solution for the challenges arising from this trend, and what its benefits are for the consumers, the economy and society at large.
CECRA, together with the other members of the coalition, urge the European Commission to publish an ambitious and comprehensive legislative proposal on “Access to In-Vehicle Data” by the first quarter of 2022, to safeguard true consumer choice, innovation, and effective competition for digital automotive services.
A broad coalition, of which CECRA is part, urges the Commission to publish an ambitious legislative proposal on access to in-vehicle data by Q1/2022
8 July 2021
In the European Commission’s communication on the ‘European Green Deal’ published end 2019, it was announced, the Commission would by June 2021, propose its revised legislation on CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans.
Within the so-called ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package, the Commission is currently finalizing its proposal for a directive amending Directive 2003/87/EC and decision (EU) 2015/1814 to strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System and extend it in line with the Union’s increased climate ambition for 2030. Once this Directive is approved, Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 31 December 2023 at the latest.
CECRA, the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs, representing automotive sales and repairs businesses at European level are looking forward to take stock of the Commission’s proposal and to examine whether it is achievable within the set timeframe.
Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt, President of CECRA says: “it is necessary to move forward towards zero-and low-emission vehicles and thereby achieve the Commission’s goal of a carbon-neutral Europe. The automotive sales and repair businesses welcome 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.”
It goes without saying that the entire automotive value chain, including dealers and repairers, is facing enormous challenges. An extended infrastructure of recharging and refuelling stations is crucial for the deployment of massive sales of zero- and low-emission vehicles. European customers will only be willing to shift towards these vehicles if the infrastructure is available. Automotive manufacturers are questioning the speed of its deployment. If tomorrow, customers remain reluctant who will buy these vehicles?
CECRA is therefore requesting the Commission to take into account a transition period which is needed to transform all stakeholders’ businesses as well as to set the deployment of recharging and refuelling stations into high gear.
European Commission’s zero-and low-emission vehicles ambitions into high gear
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.