A recent decision by the European Commission has guaranteed the independent aftermarket sector access to electronic spare parts identification data, along with vehicle repair and maintenance information.
This means independent garages, service centres, and other workshops will get the information essential to maintaining vehicles correctly, and parts suppliers will be able to identify the correct part for each vehicle, and create application lists for parts.
In addition suppliers of garage equipment will be able to request Vehicle Assemblers to validate the connectivity of their equipment with the VA’s vehicles.
The move comes as part of the committee work on EURO5 regulations, which came into force in September 2009, for vehicles type approved after that date.
The IAAF, along with colleagues at the Garage Equipment Association and the aftermarket section of the SMMT, lobbied the UK government intensively to support the efforts in Brussels carried out by FIGIEFA, the international association for parts distributors.
The UK government’s position is seen as pivotal in EU decision-making processes of this type, so the lobbying effort at UK level was vital for the IAM’s future.
Given the every growing complexity of modern vehicles and the growing parts variety and diversity even within one series, independent aftermarket businesses were finding it increasingly difficult to carry out their business, i.e. to produce and sell parts and offer other services.
There was the threat of a monopoly on the part of the vehicle manufacturers and thus of higher prices to be paid by Europe’s motorists.
“We could have had a market monopoly on information on parts data and repair information,” explained IAAF chief executive Brian Spratt.
“The European Commission has tackled the problem and responded to it in a positive manner and the new rules will obligate the Vehicle Assemblers to release electronic data that allow an exact identification of car spare parts, as well as service and repair data.
“As ever with rules from the EU, this decision may seem remote to most motorists, nonetheless, it has a huge impact as soon as their car has to be serviced or repaired.
"The independent sector should capitalise on this success by reminding all motorists that they can have their vehicles serviced in the independent sector using the most up to date information and parts, and without invalidating their vehicle warranty."