NFDA Gets To Grips With Rule Changes     

The NFDA is continuing its work on behalf of franchised dealers to get to grips with the newly-introduced block exemption order which could have huge ramifications for dealers nationwide.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, comments on the latest Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Order (VABEO) update:

“The NFDA continues to be heavily involved in representing our franchised dealer in the shaping of vertical agreement block exemption regulation. We are working closely with our specialist legal advisers, TLT LLP, and leading counsel to assess the possible scenarios affecting the future relationship between franchised dealers and manufacturers.

“The NFDA continues to engage with regulators, in particular, the European Commission, via the NFDA’s European partner, AECDR, and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to outline franchised dealers’ views.”

It says that the rules the new competition regulations replace have played an important role in the automotive and other sectors, as they have provided (as will their replacements) a form of “safe harbour” for certain types of commercial agreement (including dealer agreements) that, while containing certain restrictions, are not considered to be unduly harmful to competition.

In practice, these rules (and their guidelines) serve as a blueprint against which OEMs (and other manufacturers and distributors) self-asses the compatibility of their supply and distribution arrangements (including dealer and agency agreements) with competition law.

Understanding the new block exemption regime, says the NFDA, is therefore a must for any business involved in sales and distribution, including those that operate across multiple channels (digital and offline), those that apply selective or exclusive distribution models and those that are transitioning from one distribution channel to another, such as agency.