The European Commission has published new proposals which will change the distribution route of car sales to fleets, potentially reducing the price of new cars and making it easier for fleets to source cars from foreign dealers.
The proposed changes, to be implemented on October 1, make cross-border sales easier, giving dealers the right to set up a sales outlet outside their own European country.
The proposals also split sales and servicing, allowing sales-only dealerships to sub-contract servicing to an open market of potential suppliers who meet manufacturer standards.
Further EC proposals increase the number of garages allowed to stock manufacturer original spare parts, allowing fast-fit chains and service centres to 'offer services of good quality and thereby contribute to the safe and reliable function of motor vehicles'.
The new draft block exemption also encourages more use of internet sales and other new distribution routes, although manufacturers would still have some choice over who they supply directly.
David Evans, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, welcomed the draft regulation, claiming: 'The EC has recognised that the franchised dealer system operating for about a century has not been discredited.'
Comments on the draft should be sent to the European Commission,Directorate-General for Competition, Directorate F, Unit F2 - Motor vehicles and other means of transport, B-1049 Brussels.