Don’t underestimate Block Exemption, IAAF says in stark warning to UK aftermarket

Loss of legislation would increase VM monopoly and threaten independent aftermarket’s very existence, IAAF claims

The UK’s automotive aftermarket has been warned not to underestimate the importance of the Block Exemption Regulation after the European Commission this month launched a public consultation into its future.

The current regulation, which ensures independent garages can service any vehicle without affecting its warranty, is set to expire on May 31, 2023.

Lawrence Bleasdale, board and council member at the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has said Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010) “needs to be maintained and modernised”.

In a statement, he added: “It is the central piece of legislation ensuring a certain level playing field for competition in the automotive aftermarket between independent operators and vehicle manufacturers and their authorised networks.

“Put us back decades”

“Abandoning the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and its principles in 2023 would put us back decades and increase the vehicle manufacturers monopoly of the aftermarket, threatening the very existence of the independent aftermarket.

“These regulations, fought for over many years, have provided independent garages protection and the ability to successfully access newer vehicles, bringing about new skills and standards.

“If they were to disappear, there is no quick workaround.

“European Motor Vehicle Block Exemptions are the envy of many automotive industries around the world, who see first-hand the detriment to consumer choice through a lack of regulation and safeguards for the IAM.”

Announcing the launch of the consultation earlier this month, the European Commission said: “The objective of this consultation is to collect in-depth and high quality facts and evidence on the key competition issues arising in vertical relationships on the motor vehicle distribution and after-sales markets from the perspective of stakeholders.”

The regulation mandates the Commission to draw up an evaluation report on its operation by 31 May 2021.

You can read more about the consultation here.

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Millions of cars on UK roads with defective headlights, study suggests

More than 4.6 million road users are breaking the law and risking being hit with penalties

Millions of motorists are thought to be driving their car illegally with defective headlights, according to research from Halfords.

The study revealed that 12 per cent of road users admit to having driven with broken or damaged headlights.

What’s more, 60 per cent of drivers say they don’t know how to change a headlight bulb.

Laura Walsh, a spokeswoman for Halfords, said: “Cars with defective lights can cause a danger on the roads, so it is important that if you cannot change the bulb yourself you have an expert do it for you.

“We know motorists have delayed essential repairs and many wait for their MOT but this is a false economy and such drivers risk falling foul of the law.”

Halfords analysis revealed that seven per cent of road users had never checked their car’s headlights at all.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent admitted to only checking their lights once in the past six months meaning many could have unknown faults.

Drivers from Belfast were the worst in the study with a massive 24 per cent of road users having defective lights on their vehicles.

Gloucester was the second-worst offending area with 18 per cent of vehicles not up to the correct standards.

Norwich was the best-maintained area with just five per cent of drivers suffering from faulty lights.

Police can issue drivers with a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points for the offence.

In extreme cases, where a charge is taken to court, road users could face a £1,000 charge.

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Dual mass flywheel webinar to be hosted by Valeo

OE manufacturer set to explain inner workings of DMFs in live online training session

Valeo is set to host a free dual mass flywheel (DMF) training webinar on 29 October at 11.00am.

Technicians are being encouraged to register online to watch the live training.

During the training, the OE manufacturer will reveal how DMFs handle engine and gearbox vibrations, what each of the components are and explain ‘long damper technology’.

Valeo says its DMF technologies ensure an excellent driving experience with 100 per cent torque transmission, high filtration of vibration and an improved shifting comfort.

The webinar will be available to watch on demand one hour after the live session.

To find out more, click here.

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Mechanic crashes friend’s Corsa on test drive after fixing brakes

Technician ‘fixed brakes’ before taking it for test drive despite only having provisional licence, court hears

A mechanic who crashed his friend’s car while taking it for a test drive, despite only having a provisional licence, has been handed a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement.

Michael Poole made repairs to the Vauxhall Corsa’s braking system before taking it for a test drive last November.

During the drive he attempted an emergency stop but lost control and crashed into a parked car.

The 24-year-old then fled the scene by driving the wrong way around the Bradwell roundabout, Stoke On Trent Live reported.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Poole attended a police station and admitted the offences in February, after officers contacted the owner of the Corsa he had been driving.

Prosecutor Andrew Baker said: “In November last year a friend of the defendant asked the defendant to fix a fault with the car’s brakes.

“He knew the defendant was a mechanic, but he only had a provisional driving licence and had no permission to drive the car.

“On November 16, the defendant drove the car at excessive speed around the roundabout of Riceyman Road and Chatterley Close.

“It was 6.20pm, dark and raining.

“The defendant lost control, hit the kerb on the wrong side of the road and collided with a stationery Peugeot in Chatterley Close.

“The defendant sped off, driving the wrong way around the roundabout along Bursley Way.

“The defendant was interviewed on February 23 and admitted the offences.”

Poole pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

He has no previous convictions.

Judge Sally Hancox said: “This is unbelievably stupid on your part.

“I hope you now realise how stupid you were.

“I accept you drove away out of panic.

“I am not going to send you to custody.

“This is your first offence, let it be your last.”

In addition to the community order and rehabilitation requirement, Poole was disqualified from driving for 12 months and must pay £250 compensation and £750 costs.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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TEXA diagnostic devices granted access to Renault information protection gateway

USB token connects to AXONE NEMO 2 linked with Navigator TXT interface

TEXA’s diagnostic devices have been granted access to Renault’s recently introduced gateway module for data protection, which previously prevented data adjustment and coding functions needed for independent repairs.

A TEXA spokesperson said: “Renault has recently introduced on some of its models a gateway module for data protection that should serve to block any attempt of data tampering or theft, but actually prevents independent vehicle repairers from being able to access the adjustment and coding functions needed for the repairs.

“However, by using TEXA’s diagnostic solutions, this limitation is no longer a problem.

“In fact, it is possible to unlock the gateway and proceed with the normal diagnosis in a completely safe, legal and professional way.”

To unlock the vehicle, technicians should register on asos.renault.com to purchase a token and download a dedicated application, in addition to owning a Navigator TXTs vehicle interface capable of operating in pass-thru mode.

Along with the token, the mechanic also receives a user ID and a password to access the vehicle unlock functions.

To proceed with the diagnosis, technicians then need to connect the USB token to one of the USB ports on TEXA’s AXONE NEMO 2, which is then connected to the Navigator TXTs interface.

When it is confirmed that the gateway is unlocked, the TEXA diagnosis can be used as usual without limitation.

For more information, please click here.

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Valeter jailed for stealing three cars from dealership

Thief claimed dealer had “messed up” his wages so he sold two of the three cars he took

A car valeter who stole three BMWs from a dealership and attempted to sell them on has been sentenced to ten months in prison.

Toby Ferry worked at the unnamed dealership in Peterborough when he stole the cars from the firm for ‘messing up his wages’.

Dealership bosses first noticed a BMW 5 series was missing on 30 January and discovered Ferry had taken it, having reviewed CCTV footage.

Ferry later returned the car after the dealership’s chief executive told him to do so.

However, after further checks, they noticed two more cars were missing.

When interviewed by police, Ferry admitted taking all three cars and selling two of them.

He said he felt his actions were justified as he had experienced bad treatment at the dealership and believed the company had “messed up” his wages.

Ferry pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of a motor vehicle, three counts of driving without insurance and three counts of driving while disqualified.

He was sentenced to ten months in prison at Peterborough Crown Court on October 23 and was disqualified from driving for 29 months.

Sergeant Lewis Busby, who investigated, said: “I would advise business owners to always remain vigilant by taking appropriate measures to protect their stock.

“This case also highlights the importance of high-quality CCTV equipment for gathering evidence.

“I am glad justice has been done today.”

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Prizes up for grabs in OSRAM ‘peel & win’ promotion

Special packs to feature promo codes which can be entered online to reveal if its a winning code

Hundreds of prizes are being given away in a new ‘peel & win’ consumer promotion launched by OSRAM, with motorists being offered the chance to win a luxury spa weekend for two and an iPad Pro.

The promotion, designed to drive business through OSRAM’s customer base, is the first where products will be shipped from the Ring Automotive warehouse in Leeds.

Selected OSRAM value-added products will have the small ‘peel & win’ sticker applied to packs during September and October.

Selected products include OSRAM halogen upgrades such as Night Breaker Laser, Night Breaker Silver, Cool Blue Intense, Cool Blue Boost and Ultra Life; OSRAM HID Xenarc Original and upgrades including Xenarc Night Breaker Laser, Xenarc Cool Blue Intense and Xenarc Ultra Life; and finally, OSRAM Retrofit LEDs, including LEDriving HL and LEDriving FL.

Each ‘Peel & Win’ sticker can be peeled back to reveal a unique six-digit code.

The code can be checked online to see if it is a winner.

As well as two top prizes, others include promotional OSRAM items such as jackets, fleeces, mugs, umbrellas, caps and more.

The ‘peel & win’ sticker promotion went live on the 1st September 2020 and customers have up until 31st March 2021 to enter their unique code to see if they have won one of the many available prizes.

All shipments of stickered OSRAM products will also include a poster for motor factors, garages and workshops to display in their showroom or waiting room.

Those that enter a winning code will be told instantly that they are a winner, as well as receiving details of their prize, while also receiving a follow up confirmation email.

You can read more here.

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Consultation launched into future of Block Exemption

European Commission to draw up ‘evaluation report’ in May 2021 ahead of Block Exemption expiry in 2023

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on Block Exemption regulation which is set to expire on May 31, 2023.

The consultation comes ahead of an official review and possible revision of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010).

Currently Block Exemption requires vehicle manufactures to enable access to repair and maintenance data and parts supply to independent garages.

In its consultation, the Commission aims to assess whether and to what extent the objectives of the Block Exemption are fulfilled.

In a statement, the European Commission said: “The objective of this consultation is to collect in-depth and high quality facts and evidence on the key competition issues arising in vertical relationships on the motor vehicle distribution and after-sales markets from the perspective of stakeholders.”

The regulation mandates the Commission to draw up an evaluation report on its operation by 31 May 2021.

Independent garages can contribute to the consultation by filling in the online questionnaire before its closure on 25 January 2021.

Last year the Independent Garage Association (IGA) warned its members that the end of Block Exemption regulation as it’s currently known could make access to technical repair data and parts significantly more difficult.

However, the IGA added that: “In reality, as vehicles last longer and are retained for longer, it is unlikely that the franchised sector would have the capacity or commercial offering to keep second and third owners of a vehicle returning to them for service and maintenance.

“2023 might not bring the problems for the independents that some would have us believe, it may well provide those independents prepared to invest in data and equipment with the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The trade body adds that while access to data could be problematic, it expects third party providers to “step in to fill any void”.

You can read more about the consultation here.

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Delphi first-to-market brake pads for 2020 Honda Jazz and 2019 Peugeot 208

Braking program renowned for quick aftermarket supply of quality parts

Delphi Technologies Aftermarket has announced the launch of two more first-to-market brake pad applications for the all-new 2020 Honda Jazz and 2019 Peugeot 208.

A Delphi Technologies spokesperson said: “With such high-profile applications, garages will want to keep these brake pads stocked and ready for the repair.

“And since we’re first-to-market, our customers can prepare for these new service opportunities well before their competition gets up to speed.”

The all-new 2020 Honda Jazz introduces the model’s fourth-generation with a smooth contour facelift and a new hybrid powertrain that will be sold exclusively across Europe.

It’s the first vehicle to carry ‘e:HEV’ branding, advancing Honda’s electrification goal for all mainstream models in Europe to feature electrified powertrains by 2022.

Delphi Technologies Aftermarket braking program offers 99.76 per cent Honda pad coverage in the EU, providing garages with OE quality parts to service any model type today and tomorrow.

The brand has extended its braking line-up for Japanese and Korean applications to cover over 99 per cent of the European parc on pads and 97.7 per cent on discs.

Meanwhile, the all-new 2019 Peugeot 208 is following in its previous generation’s footsteps, achieving over 224K in sales last year and maintaining its sixth place standing out of the top 25 selling cars in Europe.

The Delphi Technologies Aftermarket braking program offers 99.61 per cent Peugeot pad coverage in the EU.

The spokesperson added: “First-to-market applications provide our customers with new service opportunities before their competition, but our speed to market is just one of the benefits of Delphi Technologies Aftermarket braking program.

“We never put speed over quality, which is why our brake pads feature 100 per cent in-house friction manufacturing that’s been tested and proven against our competition.”

To find out more about the Delphi range, please click here.

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VAG stud fitting tool now available in REPXPERT ‘bonus shop’

Specialist tool ensures accurate stud installation on many VAG diesel applications

Previously only available at INA training sessions and REPXPERT Academy events, the INA VAG stud fitting tool has now been made available in the REPXPERT bonus shop for just 2,500 points.

REPXPERTS claim the tool is an essential for technicians wanting to carry out professional, trouble free timing belt servicing on many popular VAG diesel applications.

INA product specialist, Tim Adams said: “Extreme care needs to be taken during tensioner stud removal in these vehicles, as a steel stud is used to secure the tensioner to the alloy head, which can cause problems when installing the new stud.

“After receiving feedback from mechanics that had experienced issues, we designed and produced the INA stud tool to help ensure an accurate stud installation.

“The REPXPERT programme provides mechanics with the essential technical information they need to complete high-quality repairs using Schaeffler products.

“Members can also redeem the points found in LuK, INA and FAG boxes, which they can use to access more advanced information for all products and systems, as well a range of clothing, equipment, tools and POS.

“The stud fitting tool is therefore a natural addition to the bonus shop and we recommend technicians invest the points to add it to their collection of vital special service tools.”

VAG recommends replacing the stud – either a M8 fine thread or a stepped M8 to M10 stud – at the timing belt service, which INA includes in its timing belt kits as part of its complete repair solution ethos.

However, technicians must be extremely careful when removing the stud, and check for any aluminium deposits which may have been pulled out of the thread during the process.

The stud hole should be thoroughly inspected for possible thread damage or contaminants, such as Loctite or liquid metal-type materials, as these can render the thread unusable, with a professional thread repair the only recommended solution.

Information on Schaeffler products and systems, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal at or by using the REPXPERT app, which is a free download for all iOS and Android devices.

Technicians can register to the REPXPERT portal to access a wealth of technical support and training.

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