Navigating the road ahead: priorities for the Automotive Aftermarket during the 2024-2029 EU mandate

The EU has implemented effective policy to ensure fair competition in the automotive aftermarket, and looking ahead, smart regulation will be central to continued competition success

By Álvaro de la Cruz

Álvaro de la Cruz, is the Head of Communication at FIGIEFA, the International Federation of Automotive Aftermarket Distributors

03 Apr 2024


The automotive aftermarket and mobility services sector is a core pilar of the automotive industry, providing essential repair, maintenance, and replacement parts or services that keep the EU’s close to 300 million vehicles on the road in a safe and sustainable way. This innovative ecosystem is defined by resilience, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to delivering affordable mobility for all. With over 4.5 million jobs, predominantly within SMEs, this sector is a powerhouse of employment. It's a lifeline for communities, enabling economic activity and social mobility while supporting consumers’ freedom of choice. FIGIEFA is the European association representing the independent distributors of automotive parts and components. Our members are the essential enablers for over 400.000 high-performance workshops in the EU, by delivering every day competitive spare parts, test equipment, technical information, and training. 

As the automotive landscape is undergoing profound transformations, this brings challenges and opportunities. The rise of electrification, software-defined vehicles, and remote access to vehicle digital data heralds a new era of mobility, demanding innovative solutions and business models. Embracing sustainability initiatives, such as the use of remanufactured parts and eco-friendly practices, is paramount to reducing environmental impact and building a more sustainable road mobility future for all. 

The rise of electrification, software-defined vehicles, and remote access to vehicle digital data heralds a new era of mobility

The EU recognised the critical role of the independent multiband automotive aftermarket sector and implemented over a decade specific legislation to ensure effective competition in aftersales services. Looking ahead to the next five years, ‘smart regulation’ will be essential to secure the genuine ability of this sector to compete, particularly concerning access to critical vehicle data, where vehicle manufacturers act as gatekeepers. 

Firstly, the renewal of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation in 2028 and the adoption of the long-overdue ‘Sector-Specific Legislation on Access to in-Vehicle Data, Functions and Resources’ are critical milestones for the aftermarket to continue offering innovative parts and services in the digital era.  

Secondly, updates to the Repair and Maintenance provisions of the Vehicle Type Approval Regulation are necessary to accommodate technological progress and ensure regulatory alignment with industry needs. Moreover, the strengthening of the enforcement mechanisms of existing Aftermarket legislation and a better adaptation for SMEs is necessary to protect a level playing field on the internal market. 

Finally, in line with sustainability goals, legislation should encourage competition in the treatment of end-of-life vehicles and components. The End-of-life Vehicles Directive must ensure that independent operators have equal access to essential elements, such as the circularity vehicle passport but also accurate information and specifications that are often required to remanufacture and/or refurbish parts and components taken out of an end-of-life vehicle. 

As we embark on the next European political mandate from 2024 to 2029, ensuring the future of a competitive automotive aftermarket requires collaborative efforts between policymakers and industry stakeholders. By prioritising smart regulation, embracing technological advancements, and promoting sustainability, we can navigate the evolving landscape and secure a vibrant automotive aftermarket for years to come to the benefit of consumers. 


Associated Organisation