Bodyshop trade organisations say repair bills in Britain are likely to be directly hit, thanks to the country's liberal rules governing the market. However, the RAC says that even if the British Government introduces its own repair clause allowing free trade, the knock-on effect of a limited market elsewhere in Europe would still be felt by British motorists.
It is campaigning for such a clause to be included at European level before the directive becomes law - as well as for the British Government to take unilateral steps to protect the market should it become necessary. RAC head of campaigns Edmund King said: 'If the Council of Ministers gets its way, repair costs for motorists could spiral and the independent spare parts market will be destroyed. Motorists in Britain can now shop around for spare parts. The RAC cannot believe that EU governments wish to deprive their citizens of this right and lock consumers into an expensive and unfair monopoly.'