NEW BER …”return to antiquity”!?


Astronomía: Observación solar con telescopio © by campuspartymexico

Still have doubts? All there to see … what will happen?

Actually it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand a so complex subject in almost absolute absence of  “information”! Nothing to do, as we all remember, with “brass bands” and the media overexposure that …, accompanied the EU statement of Mario Monti before, during and after its arrival.

Of course, the legislative text of the new EU Regulation 461/2010 effective since June 1st of last year, can be easily accessible to everybody, but any form of debate, comments and considerations among the people involved have been missing! The organizations involved and the sector’s press are late (a precaution?)

So welcome to the “minefield”!

Like all matters of legislative nature, even this difficult subject is notoriously complex and articulated, very “sensitive” for the direct consequences that could produce on the people most directly involved…

The new EU regulation hasn’t been fully understood yet.

 We will not make a purely “legal”(and quite risky) discussion of the issue, but we will limit ourselves to some reflections on what are the types of scenarios that could emerge for the official networks from 2013 and the possible effects, as often happens on such occasions … starting from now.

 It may be enough!

 With the process of liberalization of the competition in the vehicle’s distribution in Europe, may well be sufficient.

 This is the decision surprisingly taken by the responsible Commission. Contrary to what was reasonably foreseeable.

 On 1st of June of the last year the European Commission has officially announced the long-awaited, new rules of “exemption” which will govern the cars distribution for the next years, up to the 2023 (!!!).

 However, the new rules regarding the cars service and after market in general will be in force starting from now. Will be the only area of Reparation and rules more generally about Aftermaket, already regulated by EU No 330/2010 related to other consumer goods as well, while for the aspects related to the sale of the car the ‘extension’ of validity until the 31st of May 2013 of the old EU Regulation 1400/2002 will move the implementation of the New Regulation on June 1st 2013.

 The new legislation replaces the Block Exemption Regulation (BER), issued in October 2002, that saw its application within the next year, raising alarm among Dealers and Repairers, controversy and confusion even by the car manufacturers that however breathed a sigh of relief, at least at the moment and until 2013, for the extension of the “status quo” achieved – not without good reasons – even if only for the sales. Don’t you think it’s remarkable?

 The New Rules for the regulation of Automobile Distribution, renamed by experts New BER, produced no visible effect yet.
However, the car manufacturers are “dutifully” taking action, some are already more than forward … Although there are reports of some manufacturer of primary importance that, as we write, has not yet decided if and what to do … Or maybe they have decided to do nothing! We’ll see.  In fact for some time and especially in recent months, we have seen an apparent “turmoil” and an exceptional hyperactivity of the Network Development Departments of the various car companies, this was bound to herald important news!
Some have already been officially declared – and with maximum fanfare – in a press release just released, others will follow shortly. I would not exclude also that “someone” instead will not issue any announcement preferring … more discretion!

 This is simply explained by a necessary and unavoidable technical reason or rather “procedural”.

 In order to have the entire network “released” from expiring contracts (end of extension) and not taking risks of any kind, legal, litigation, or situations of network “mixed” resulting in confusion among dealers (some with termination already received and others not) there is no alternative: send to all at the same time by registered post cancellation of contract by 24 months. The only one that is possible (and expected by the regulations) without incurring any risk claims, liability for wrongful cause and so on.
And there have been several manufacturers that to do this, have been waiting just for the last few days.

 What tempting occasion for any manufacturer will ever occur?
Why not taking the opportunity to “revise” their own strategies? If not now, when? … In 2023?!

 How much will be actually applied the rule that gives the possibility of claiming again the exclusivity, even though (only?) for the first 5 years … that’s incredible!

 And regarding the aftermarket? A sector where, unlike the sales, things are already going toward a stronger, although still painful, liberalization, what is it going to furtherly change?

 The companies, which will be in the position of requiring the exclusivity to the independent workshops, will finally cooperate with them?

 A more “correct” and transparent use of Warranty, the more the benefit of both official and independent repairers will be achieved?

 Will the obligation, properly abolished by Mario Monti, that the companies may impose to their repairers to sell cars?

Will the dealers demand again the rule of “joined permission”- sales and after sales – in the same “site”?

 In June 2013, will expire the rule that limits to 30% the revenues imposed by the manufacturer to the total turnover of the dealer, what will happen? And with the single branding obligation, by which the dealers will be forced to buy vehicles exclusively from the manufacturer? And the present 24 months period of termination notice, no longer required for the future, how will be managed in proximity of the expiring time of 5 years considering the need of agreement of both the parties.

 And until 2023 our sector, more and more in rapid (even too) evolution, technological, behavioral and financial, in the absence of news, notes will be governed by existing Community Directives (Sector Guidelines) the so-called “soft law”?

 It is true that there are “reassuring” circulars that remind us that the EU “… while ensuring effective supervision of markets in accordance with Article 103, paragraph 2, letter b) of the Treaty” could then accept opinions and comments of the involved parties. But substantial second thoughts do not seem predictable, as (at least) hoped from our side.

 The impression prevailing at the moment, is actually “that the power is returned to the manufacturers”. A power which was instead tried to resize with the Mario Monti’s regulation for a more reasonable balance of  “forces” between the Contracting Parties. It is not difficult to predict what will presumably, the party which is likely to play the role of  “losing” …

And the so much hoped improved benefits for the end users, what will become?  Will they be safeguarded?

What might seem like a fear, is in danger of becoming a certainty … “return to antiquity”!?

(Translated by Raffaele Vincenti)

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