Speaking in favour of changes to Block Exemption, Alain Favey, managing director at Citroen UK, said: 'We think it will offer more choice, better competition and better value. We don't see it as a threat – it is a great opportunity for our dealers and customers.'
The new Block Exemption will give dealers greater freedom to open multi-brand showrooms while independent repairers will be guaranteed access to technical information and training from manufacturers to allow them to compete with franchised garages.
Citroen has introduced a set of stringent criteria for dealers, repairers and parts distributors wanting to represent the group, as a direct result of the changes due this October. Those wishing to represent Citroen must be able to prove that they are financially viable, with staff, equipment and premises which have been trained or tested to Citroen standards.
A survey completed last month by Datamonitor indicated that 40% of garages and 63% of tyre dealers in key European markets were still unaware of changes due to block exemption.
Citroen wants to boost its share of this market as a result of the legislation. It plans to increase the number of authorised repairers from 233 to 350 and increase its approved outlets from 233 to 260.
Favey added: 'We already have a number of partners wanting to join and are checking they meet our criteria.'