by Amy Antenora
Managing Editor, aftermarketNews.com
WASHINGTON — In conjunction with this week’s hearing before a Congressional subcommittee on HR 2735, the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, Automotive Industry Association (AAIA) President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz held a press conference on Wednesday reiterating the association’s reasons for supporting the measure. (To read more about the hearing, click here).
In her statement, Schmatz told those attending the conference that the Right to Repair act is more critical now than ever due to the increased use of computers and electronics in cars. “As a result, car companies now control access to the information and tools necessary for the independent service industry to stay competitive with the franchised new car dealers,” Schmatz said.
“While AAIA applauds the promises made by the car companies in their letter released nearly two years ago, due to the past struggles with the vehicle manufacturers over this issue, we do not feel comfortable putting America’s car owners and the future economic health of the independent aftermarket at the mercy of a mere promise made by the car companies.”
At the press conference, AAIA released the results of an independent study conducted from July 28 through Aug. 12 by the Tarrance Group and Lake Snell Perry & Associates (LSPA). The Tarrance Group is a national Republican polling firm based in Alexandria, Va., that provides polls, election information and related services. Lake Snell Perry & Associates (LSPA) is a national Democratic public opinion and political strategy research firm.
The firms interviewed 800 owners or managers of automotive aftermarket businesses about their opinions on the Right to Repair Act. The study, conducted by the polling firms on behalf of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (C.A.R.E.), asked the 800 respondents a series of questions such as what, if any, industry associations did they belong to, if they were familiar with the Right to Repair Act and if they have experienced problems accessing repair information.
The study claims to have found what it described as “overwhelming” support among automotive aftermarket retailers for the Right to Repair Act. More than nine-in-ten (92 percent) of respondents were said to favor passage of this legislation, including 79 percent who “strongly” favored its passage. The study also claims that the support for the bill is consistent among members of numerous industry associations, regardless of the association’s support of and opposition to the bill.
The study noted that 59 percent of the retailers surveyed have experienced problems getting access to repair information or tools necessary for repairs; 24 percent in this sub-group said that they have experienced these problems “extremely” or “very” frequently.
In addition, the poll noted that more than six-in-ten respondents report to have been forced to send at least one vehicle to a franchised dealer for repairs that they could not perform due to lack of information and tools from the manufacturer.
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