The European Commission has recently published a set of frequently asked questions and answers on the application of competition rules in the motor vehicle sector. The document contains questions frequently asked to the European Commission or questions that are otherwise likely to be of wider interest.
Since a long time separate European competition rules are applicable to the car sector. After an extensive evaluation, the European Commission decided in 2010 that these sector specific rules can be partly abolished. This has as a consequence that the general competition rules become applicable. For the sale of new motor vehicles this will be the case. There is a transitional period until 2013. A new (separate) block exemption is applicable to agreements concerning spare parts, repair and maintenance services, because of possible lack of competition on these markets. Therefore, in relation to these activities partly a separate regime remains applicable.
The European Commission has received several questions since the approval of the new regime for the motor vehicle sector. These questions are now bundled in the document frequently asked questions.
The frequently asked questions
The frequently asked questions explain how the European Commission approaches several particular issues. The document does not replace the guidelines, but complements them. The document is divided into six topics, namely: (1) the honouring of warranties, (2) servicing in the context of leasing contracts, (3) the supply of spare parts, (4) the use and purchase of electronic diagnostic and repair tools, (5) access to technical information, and (6) access to authorised repairer networks. There is therefore particular attention devoted to the motor vehicle aftermarkets, which tend to be less competitive than the markets for the sale of new cars.