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EU Regulators Assessing Car Repair Market Amid Calls for Increased Competition

 |  May 16, 2024

European Union (EU) regulators are delving into the workings of the car repairs market in response to mounting demands from consumers for heightened competition. Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, revealed on Monday that while no formal case has been opened, interest has been piqued because car owners are calling for greater options in selecting repair services beyond those certified for their vehicles.

Vestager addressed reporters, saying consumers want the freedom to engage repairers or garages of their choice, as reported by Reuters. She clarified that this investigation is not yet formalized but falls within the realm of market supervision. “We want to get a sense of this market again because this is very much about data. You can access the data to service the car,” Vestager explained.

Meanwhile, recent revelations have emerged regarding major car manufacturers utilizing sophisticated pricing software to maximize revenues. Companies including Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, and Peugeot have reportedly augmented their incomes by over $1 billion in the last decade through the implementation of such software. Documents submitted in a court case, including sales presentations from Accenture, shed light on the mechanics of this pricing strategy.

The software in question operates by identifying which spare parts within a manufacturer’s range consumers would be willing to pay higher prices for, determining the extent of price increases, and identifying which prices should remain unchanged. Accenture, the consultancy behind the software, has maintained that its tools are designed to enhance efficiency for clients and denies any unfair treatment of motorists.

Responding to these revelations, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, and Peugeot have defended their pricing strategies, asserting their legality and emphasizing their focus on efficiency and ensuring availability for consumers. According to Reuters, these manufacturers contend that their pricing practices do not exploit car owners but rather serve to streamline operations and maintain service availability.

Source: Reuters