Andy Hamilton, the CEO of LKQ UK & Ireland group of companies, has expressed his belief that the new Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Order (MVBEO) is a ‘watershed moment’ for the independent aftermarket.
This new Order, implemented this month, replaces the previous Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MVBER) that were supported by the European Union. As the United Kingdom is no longer bound by European competition rules, the MVBEO is designed to better cater to the specific needs of the UK Aftermarket.
Since the Brexit process, LKQ UK & Ireland has actively campaigned for enhancements to the previous MVBER framework. In collaboration with prominent industry trade bodies like the IAAF and UK AFCAR, LKQ joined forces to advocate for these changes. LKQ submitted several detailed proposals to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) during their consultations. Additionally, the company assisted in collecting evidence from independent workshops, highlighting instances of abuse of the MVBER by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). These efforts aimed to support the industry’s push for reform in the sector.
“The new MVBEO regulations have delivered on many of the industry’s key requests. It is more comprehensive – now covering software, training and improved access to data and information alongside parts – and it is now shorter in duration, coming up for review again before the end of the decade. This should allow the framework to be updated to keep pace with the rapidly evolving vehicle market.
This is a real success for the independent aftermarket, where its ability to service modern vehicles was slowly being squeezed by OEMs capitalising on the shortcomings and loopholes of the ageing MVBER framework and advances in vehicle technology that support new business models.”
He continued: “As vehicles continue their gradual evolution to becoming tech hardware, there remain gaps in the legislative landscape that OEMs will no doubt exploit to restrict access to independents and, by extension, limit consumer choice. This includes cybersecurity where the UK currently has no plans to introduce a standardised certification system, such as the SERMI scheme that is due to come into force in Northern Ireland and the EU this summer.
Meanwhile, the threat of damaging MOT reforms is still casting a shadow over the industry’s future. Because of all these issues, we and our partners in the industry are not resting on our laurels.”