'FTC Must Lead Efforts To Ensure Competitive Repair Industry,' Says Auto Care Association

‘FTC Must Lead Efforts To Ensure Competitive Repair Industry,’ Says Auto Care Association

On Tuesday, July 16, Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs for the Auto Care Association, testified before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) during a public workshop on policies and research related to manufacturers limiting third-party repairs.

On Tuesday, July 16, Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs for the Auto Care Association, testified before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) during a public workshop on policies and research related to manufacturers limiting third-party repairs.

During the workshop, titled “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions,” Lowe discussed the independent auto care industry’s involvement in the national Right to Repair agreement as well as efforts to combat attempts by the automakers to restrict use of non-OEM parts and services.

“The value of the independent auto care industry is demonstrated by the fact that 70 percent of car owners bring their vehicle to independent service providers after their warranty expires based on price, trust and convenience,” said Lowe. “The Auto Care Association and Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) played major roles in the industry’s Right to Repair efforts… which require car companies to provide access to the same tools, information and software that they provide their franchised dealers.”

Lowe emphasized that notwithstanding the benefits to the auto care industry and consumers brought on by Right to Repair, the memorandum of understanding does not, nor was it intended to, solve all problems facing the independent auto repair industry. Lowe then summarized some of the other anti-competitive, anti-consumer issues facing the industry, including:

• Attempts by vehicle manufacturers and dealers to circumvent the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibition on tying parts and service with warranty coverage through misinformation in marketing literature, sales manuals and technical service bulletins;

• How the increased use of wireless technology and on-board diagnostic port access restrictions are placing the vehicle manufacturer in the position of gatekeeper for data needed by the auto care industry to repair vehicles;

• The use of embedded software to force shops to only purchase OE-branded components instead of more affordable remanufactured components;

• The emergence of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) which, while providing safety benefits, are unnecessarily increasing repair costs for consumers and insurance companies; and

• Actions taken by vehicle manufacturers to severely limit the availability of aftermarket parts for collision repair, which has impacted insurance premiums for consumers.

Lowe also pointed to issues with the heavy-duty market.

“While consumers have been at the forefront of Right to Repair, the heavy-duty industry – whether it is trucks or agricultural equipment – has been impacted by many of the same issues as the auto repair market,” said Lowe.

Finally, Lowe thanked the FTC for hosting the workshop to call attention to an issue of critical importance to the auto care industry and to its customers, the motoring public. He expressed hope that this was not the end of a process, but rather the beginning of FTC-led efforts to ensure a competitive repair industry for both consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses.

For more information about the Auto Care Association’s government affairs initiatives and advocacy efforts, visit autocare.org/government-affairs.

You May Also Like

Auto Care Association Testifies Against Idaho Bill SB 1233

The Human Resources Committee heard testimony from individuals both supporting and opposing the bill.

The Auto Care Association last week testified before the Idaho State Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee in opposition to SB 1233. The bill added headlamps, fenders, hoods, tail lamps, and bumper components to the definition of aftermarket crash parts; added language to written disclosure statements telling consumers that non-OEM crash parts may affect safety and performance of a vehicle, and recommended that consumers consult with a qualified industry expert or repair shop before making any decisions regarding the use of non-OEM crash parts.

MEMA Announces Policy Insight Series: Mobilizing Change

This series is comprised of four on-demand videos, each featuring in-depth interviews with public policy experts.

MEMA Announces Policy Insight Series: Mobilizing Change
SEMA Accepting Speaker Proposals for 2024 Education Program

Innovate thinkers and dynamic presenters are invited to submit speaker proposals for the 2024 SEMA Show by February 16.

SEMA Accepting Speaker Proposals for 2024 Education Program
MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Appoints New Exec. Committee Member

Brian Blouin, group leader – supply chain management at Schaeffler Group USA, Inc., is the newest member of the Supply Chain & Operations Forum.

MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Appoints New Exec. Committee Member
Auto Care Association Expands Market Performance Insights

Five new product lines, plus the addition of a new “leading-edge Annual Unit Volumes metric” that are now available for 25 product groups in Demand Index, have been released.

Other Posts

YANG Launches Annual Sponsorship Program

Now a year-round opportunity, the annual sponsorship program offers five tiers of engagement: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

2024 Vision Conference Spotlights Industry Research, Analysis

Two separate sessions will spotlight a Landmark Study on AI in the aftermarket and a MiX Insights whitepaper.

ACPN Announces 2024 Scholarship Recipient

Omer Zanoor, of Canadian Tire Corporation, is the 2024 ACPN scholarship winner.

Art Fisher Memorial Scholarships Accepted until March 31
SEMA Accepting Hall of Fame Nominations

Nominees may be business leaders or contributors from any aftermarket segment or niche.

SEMA-Hall-of-Fame