UK drivers could face soaring garage bills under new legislation that would ban mechanics from using certain parts.
A leading automotive parts distributor has claimed that EU legislation could force independent garages to use manufactured-branded parts, costing motorists a combined £2.4 billion a year.
Andy Hamilton, CEO of Euro Car Parts, warned that proposed changes to block exemption rules would stop independent mechanics from using cheaper third-party repair parts, adding an estimated £100 a year to motorists’ bills.
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If approved, the change would come into force in 2023 and under post-Brexit agreements the UK would automatically follow the same rules unless regulators intervene.
Mr Hamilton warned that not only would such a move cost motorists more but it could pose a threat to the livelihoods of thousands of mechanics.
He told the Telegraph: “British drivers risk being driven into a monopoly that will cost them nearly £100 a year and much more in future.
"Ministers must intervene to expedite the issue. If not, Britons up and down the country will have to fork out £2.4bn in extra costs that go straight into the hands of car manufacturers - many of which charge a large premium for fixing their vehicles."
At the moment independent garages are free to use aftermarket parts from other suppliers, which are often cheaper than the manufacturer-branded equivalents. According to Mr Hamilton, under the rule change they would have to use more expensive parts from the original equipment supplier.
Mr Hamilton added: “Independent garages consistently rank higher for customer satisfaction than the franchised dealers, offering a local ‘all-makes’ service at a competitive price – critically, which can be flexed depending on the parts the driver is comfortable paying for.”
He warned that the UK’s 30,000 independent garages would be forced to charge customers more, potentially putting their existence at risk.
The CMA is currently in discussions with the Government over the rules around spare parts and a spokesperson from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said that the change would not automatically apply to the UK. They added that the Business Secretary would make a decision based on whether the change was beneficial to the UK.