Fleet News

Safety issues cloud freer car parts trade

EUROPEAN fleets could benefit financially from a proposal to open up the EU's car parts market. The European Commission has adopted a proposal to open up the €10 billion market for car parts to independent parts makers.

But concerns have been voiced that, if approved, the move could result in company cars being fitted with inferior parts, which would ultimately put drivers' safety at risk.

It was welcomed by the UK-based Retail Motor Federation (RMI), which said garages would be able to offer cheaper alternatives than original manufacturer-produced parts.

RMI chief executive Matthew Carrington said: 'Businesses and consumers alike will benefit from the liberalisation of the parts market across the European Union.'

But the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), which represents the interests of motor manufacturers across Europe, said the proposal would impact on competitiveness and offer consumers 'no clear benefits'.

It is concerned a new entrant to the market could fit vehicles with less safe and lower quality parts. Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of the ACEA, said: 'This proposal is clearly at odds with everything the EU is currently trying to achieve with regard to industry competitiveness. Moreover, the way it has been adopted and the lack of consideration for the arguments and data provided by our industry do not serve the objectives of good governance and better lawmaking that the Commission has set.

'We will continue to present our arguments and we hope that the European Parliament and the EU Council will address in a more balanced and rigorous way the significant issues linked with this proposal.'

ACEA members say the move will impact on the jobs and revenues of European car and parts manufacturers and benefit makers from outside of the EU, mainly Taiwan.

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