Organizations representing the country’s independent automotive repairers, collision repair experts and automakers have inked an agreement on automotive right-to-repair. The commitment among the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and Alliance for Automotive Innovation affirms a 2014 national agreement on automotive right-to-repair and states unequivocally that “independent repair facilities shall have access to the same diagnostic and repair information that auto manufacturers make available to authorized dealer networks.”
In a letter to Congress outlining this automotive right-to-repair development, the coalition of repairers and automakers wrote: “This commitment was created with our mutual and valued customers in mind: vehicle owners. It affirms that consumers deserve access to safe and proper repairs throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle, [and] it is built to last because it anticipates changes in automotive technologies and market evolutions.”
Highlights of the agreement include:
- Access to diagnostic and repair information: Independent repair facilities shall continue to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information that auto manufacturers make available to authorized dealer networks. This applies to: telematics data needed to diagnose and repair a vehicle if not otherwise available and all vehicle technologies and powertrains, including gasoline, diesel, fuel cell, electric battery, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric powertrains.
- Education and training: A pledge to work together on education and training programs so mechanical and collision repair facilities are fully aware of exactly where and how to obtain repair information, including: directly through an automaker’s repair website, shared access points like www.OEM1Stop.com or via third-party information providers, software and tools.
- Future advancements: As vehicle technologies and the corresponding demands on repairers evolve, the commitment ensures a level playing field and a forum to discuss future repairer needs as they develop.
As state legislatures and Congress consider automotive right-to-repair laws, including the REPAIR Act, the parties noted: “…independent repairers and automakers are not at odds on automotive data access, but rather in lockstep on this fundamental principle: consumers should have choice when it comes to repair options and the ability to have their vehicle serviced in well-equipped shops by well-trained technicians anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”
John Bozzella, president and CEO for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said automakers in its membership support right-to-repair, and auto repairers across the U.S. have access to the same repair and diagnostic information provided to auto dealers.
“It’s not just automakers who say this. It’s the Federal Trade Commission. And with today’s agreement, it’s also the thousands of independent auto repairers and small businesses in all 50 states who together with automakers have once again made this fundamental commitment to customers,” he added.
Paul McCarthy, president of MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers, said in a letter to his the association’s members on Tuesday that the agreement and letter to Congress from ASA, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and Alliance for Automotive Innovation, falls short of the protections necessary to ensure consumer choice now and into the future.
“As a key stakeholder in protecting consumers’ rights and an essential part of the value chain, MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers must be a part of the conversation around an appropriate 50-state solution.” You can read more from McCarthy’s letter to members here.
In a letter to Auto Care Association members, President Bill Hanvey called the agreement “a thinly veiled response by the automotive OEMs to HR 906: The REPAIR Act.” Read the Auto Care Association’s full response here.
“The efforts we’re seeing this summer to stop our industry’s momentum of securing our right to repair are only ramping up. From the recent NHTSA letter to this new right to repair “pact” from the automakers, there has never been more of a critical time to speak up and make our voices heard in Washington,” Hanvey said.
Justin Rzepka, executive director for the CAR Coalition, said the letter from the three organizations is “nothing more than lip service and regurgitated platitudes.”
“This pact masquerades as pro-consumer, but, in reality, does nothing to expand consumer choices and give a vehicle owner access to repair data,” he said “Any new agreement touted in the letter is entirely unenforceable and nothing more than window dressing. This letter and agreement should be seen for what they really are – an attempt to prevent Congress from advancing consumer-focused legislation like the SMART and REPAIR Acts that would break the monopoly on auto parts and protect consumers’ rights to repair options and data access. The CAR Coalition remains committed to pursuing these bipartisan bills in order to put consumers, not auto manufacturers, in the driver’s seat when it comes to vehicle repair.”
In their agreement, the groups claim that automotive right-to-repair already exists with 70 percent of post-warranty automotive work today handled by the independent repair community. In addition, the agreement states that OEM1Stop.com was created by automakers for repair technicians to find repair and diagnostic information on most vehicles. The Federal Trade Commission – the government’s top consumer protection and competition agency – has cited the automotive industry as an example of the repair aftermarket “working well,” the agreement further states.
“ASA has been a steadfast advocate for the right of independent repair shops to vehicle service information since before the 2002 service information agreement it signed with automakers. Since then, the cars Americans rely on have become increasingly sophisticated, and the rate of innovation will only accelerate. The way vehicle issues are diagnosed and repaired evolves in tandem with advancement,” said Scott Benevidez, ASA board chairman and owner of Mr. B’s Paint & Body Shop Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “ASA is proud to have reached this new agreement with automakers because it ensures ASA members can diagnose and repair their customers’ vehicles without hinderance from telematics nor any other innovation. Most importantly, it maintains a competitive repair market that yields the highest quality safety outcomes at a fair price for drivers.”