UK AFCAR, a coalition of trade associations including the GEA, IAAF, NTDA and UKLA, recently asked independent garages to register any restrictions they face on gaining access to data and repair and maintenance information, or other restrictions in their ability to complete a vehicle repair, via a new online form.
Evidence to date shows some concerning issues across a number of vehicle makes and models, including: Mazda, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Porsche, Citroen, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Peugeot and Vauxhall.
One garage responded, saying:“[We had problems with the] Mercedes A Class radar, [as there were] no fault codes but distance warning and emergency braking [were] not working. [It was] diagnosed as [the] radar control unit. [We were] unable to replace [the part], as [it] requires Mercedes OEM and C5 SCN login.
Another garage could not access a Hyundai vehicle’s online service record, meaning they could not record servicing or repair work, while another had difficulty in finding any information to update a Citroen vehicle’s digital service records, with the problem remaining unresolved. The same problem was reported for a Mazda CX-5.
One technician came across a stumbling block when replacing a diesel particulate filter additive tank to a Peugeot Partner, as they were unable to programme the part to the vehicle and had to take it to the dealers for secure configuration. UK AFCAR fights to ensure the rights of the independent aftermarket that are enshrined in MV-BER and vehicle type approval legislation, both of which are upheld in the post-Brexit era.
It looks to allow all multi-brand operators to be able to access technical information, supply spare parts of matching quality to original equipment parts, and perform service, maintenance and repair (SMR), providing vehicle owners with a choice of the supply of SMR services, as part of an open, competitive, and transparent marketplace.
Mark Field, UK AFCAR chairman and chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, said: “The findings have confirmed what we already knew; independent garages are being locked out of repair and maintenance activities by some vehicle manufacturers. It’s imperative that the independent aftermarket works on a level playing field
– as detailed in legislation – and can provide drivers with an effective choice of where they take their vehicle to be repaired or serviced, and it’s clear that as it stands, this is not the case in a number of instances.”
“We encourage technicians to continue to come forward so we can continue to collate solid evidence and lobby the Government to ensure this ongoing issue is resolved and the aftermarket remains protected.”