Bob Hood, independent garages director at the RMI, said: 'Our committee has made approvals a top priority. The approval route may or may not become popular with independents, but the provision of manufacturer technical information, training and equipment certainly offers previously denied opportunities.'
Changes to the block exemption rules will take effect from October this year. New rules 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.
The costs associated with being an approved repairer will be one of the main issues for those considering the scheme. Manufacturers are imposing strict criteria, which could turn out to be costly.