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Antitrust: Commission invites comments on draft proposals for the future of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and Supplementary Guidelines

The European Commission recently (06 July 2022) launched a public consultation and a call for evidence inviting all interested parties to comment on its draft proposals for the future of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (‘MVBER') regime. These include (i) a draft Regulation prolonging the validity of the existing MVBER for five years and (ii) a draft Communication introducing targeted updates to the Supplementary Guidelines.

The draft rules follow a review process launched in December 2018, in view of the expiry of the MVBER on 31 May 2023, with the aim of gathering evidence on the functioning of the rules applicable to vertical agreements in the automotive sector. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on the draft rules by 30 September 2022.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, recently said:

“The proposed prolongation of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation for another five years aims at maintaining a regime that has made it easier for businesses in the automotive sector to assess whether their agreements are in line with the EU competition rules. We also propose targeted updates to our Guidelines to address vehicle-generated data which is an essential input for repair and maintenance services. Interested parties are invited to provide their comments, which will help us finalise the rules that are due to enter into force on 1 June 2023.”

The proposed changes

As set out in more detail in the explanatory note accompanying the draft Regulation prolonging the MVBER and the draft Communication amending the Supplementary Guidelines, the proposed changes aim to:

  • Keep the MVBER in place for five additional years and therefore continue to facilitate companies' self-assessment of their vertical agreements in the automotive sector with EU competition rules. It is likely that, in five years' time, currently emerging trends, such as those resulting from vehicle digitalisation and new mobility patterns, will have been consolidated. The proposed extension will allow the Commission to re-assess the situation under the new market reality by the new expiry date of the prolonged MVBER (i.e. 31 May 2028).
  • Make it clear that vehicle-generated data may be an essential input for repair and maintenance services. They will provide clarity for companies concerning the way the Commission views issues related to access to data generated by the cars' sensors when assessing vertical agreements between vehicle manufacturers and their authorised networks under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU').  The Commission proposes to extend the existing principles for the provision of technical information, tools and training necessary for the provision of repair and maintenance services to explicitly cover vehicle-generated data.

Next steps

More information, including on how to submit a contribution, is available here.

Following the comments by the interested parties on the draft Regulation prolonging the MVBER and the draft Communication amending the Supplementary Guidelines, the Commission will process those and implement any necessary changes in the draft rules with a view to having the final rules in place on 1 June 2023.

Click here for the full press release

 

Original article link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_4282

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