Big challenges facing our industry

We spoke with IAAF Chief Executive Wendy Williamson before the annual conference

Published:  06 February, 2015

The IAAF is one of the industry bodies at the forefront of protecting the independent aftermarket from the challenges coming up from the vehicle manufactures (VMs). Chief Executive Wendy Williamson discussed how the IAAF is working in Europe.

She says: "We are quite actively engaged with FIGIEFA primarily as we are finding that most of the issues are pan-European because clearly that is how VMs are geared up. Since the elections in the EU in May 2014, the VMs have seemed to be on feed, upping their activity as far as lobbying is concerned. I think a third of MEPs were new coming into parliament so they are really asserting themselves, highlighting how they are responsible for bringing in billions in revenue, without wanting to clarify the role of the aftermarket. Where FIGIEFA were expecting a quiet period as new MEPs bedded in but that really has not been the case.

Wendy then went on to discuss eCall and the issue surrounding what is, on the surface, a safety option for vehicles: "VMs are using the emergency system, designed specifically for emergency use, to proactively communicate a range of services to drivers. The implications are that problems the driver may have that they may not be immediately aware of will be communicated to them directly in the car and will flag up a fault code; 'Please take this to your nearest dealer as soon as possible'. The response the driver would have is to take it where they are told.

"Block exemption protects the independent industry, it gives us access to technical data but it is not specific about time, so what we are talking about here is the timeframe. In this instance, the message being sent to the car is well in advance of the driver realising there is a problem or having taken it into a garage.

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