05 Mar 2024

Access to data: Independents increasingly shut out by VMs, UK AFCAR finds

Garages are having to deal with progressively more circumscribed access to data and repair and maintenance information (RMI), according to ongoing research from UK AFCAR.

The coalition which includes sector trade associations the GEA, IAAF, NTDA and UKLA among others, has asked independent garages to record and report any restrictions they face. Marques that keep coming up include Mazda, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Porsche, Citroen, Bentley, ALFA ROMEO, Mercedes, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

One garage said: “[We had problems with the] Mercedes A Class radar, [as there were] no fault codes but distance warning and emergency braking [were] not working. [It was] diagnosed as [the] radar control unit. [We were] unable to replace [the part], as [it] requires Mercedes OEM and C5 SCN login.”

Another garage was unable to access a Hyundai online service record, meaning they could not record servicing or repair work. Another had difficulty finding information to update a Citroen vehicle’s digital service records, and this problem was never solved. The same issue was described on a Mazda CX 5.

Mark Field, UK AFCAR chairman and chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), said: “The findings have confirmed what we already knew; independent garages are being locked out of repair and maintenance activities by some vehicle manufacturers. It’s imperative that the independent aftermarket works on a level playing field – as detailed in legislation – and can provide drivers with an effective choice of where they take their vehicle to be repaired or serviced, and it’s clear that as it stands, this is not the case in a number of instances.”

Mark added: “We encourage technicians to continue to come forward so we can continue to collate solid evidence and lobby the Government to ensure this ongoing issue is resolved and the aftermarket remains protected.”

To log an issue with access to data or RMI, please use the UK AFCAR report form: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/UKAFCAR