From AAIA Capital Report
BETHESDA, MD — In a Sept. 7 letter, AAIA called on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to take action regarding the recent announcement by General Motors (GM)that it is increasing the licensing fee for use of its data stream information to $50,000 from the current $10,000. In addition, the agreement spelled out by GM in a letter to tool companies requires that even if a company does not want to use 2004 model year information, they still must pay the new licensing fee if the tool providers want to include data stream information for past model year vehicles on their products (notwithstanding the fact that they may have already paid the fee to GM for that information under previous licensing agreements). Data stream is information from the on-board computer transmitted over communication wires to various vehicle modules and is critical to the development of diagnostic tools that are used by aftermarket technicians.
Under service information legislation (S.B. 1146) enacted in the State, car companies are required to supply data stream information to tool companies at a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory price.” The regulations promulgated by CARB to implement S.B. 1146 further established guidelines for determining whether prices charged by the car company meets the statutory requirements. One of the factors that must be considered by CARB includes whether the price charged by the car company compares to the price charged by other manufacturers for similar information. Nearly all other car companies charge less than $10,000 or nothing at all for the same information.
AAIA warned CARB that the new excessive licensing fee would have a major impact on the independent service industry since tool companies will surely add this cost on to the price of their tools; and many small tool companies may find the price tag of this license prohibitive and thus reduce the number of diagnostic tools available to independents.
According to the letter, “Either way shops will find that diagnostic tool costs go up dramatically in the coming years, and thus increase the cost of competing for emissions related repairs.”
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