From March, changes to EU laws mean car manufacturers will be forced to provide security data to any workshop regardless of brand affiliation or independent status.
The only proviso is the garage must be certified as reputable. That will be determined by the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), which has announced a new Standards & Certification division to oversee a licensing process to grant access to manufacturers’ technical information.
Its head, Stuart James, said the law change would allow fleet bosses to get a better service if they choose to use the independent sector for service, maintenance and repairs (SMR). “Currently some functions, such as coding of keys, has to be done at a franchised dealership,” he said.
“In future, this and all other security-related work can be carried out by an independent business provided it meets our criteria.”
James believes the new system could also allow fleet managers to diversify the range of manufacturers they source cars from because there should be no SMR issues.
John Lewis, chief executive of the BVRLA, commented: “This is another important step in the freeing-up of the automotive aftermarket. The RMI’s timely involvement will help a wider range of garages get hold of this technical information. In turn this will give fleets a greater choice, making it easier to find a conveniently-located repairer that can meet their service requirements.”
With the launch of its new division and vetting process – designed to eliminate the risk of misuse of security information – the RMI becomes the first organisation in Europe to be a certification body for this information. The police are backing the move because they’re keen to prevent sensitive car security information falling into criminal hands.