Tuesday, September 15, 2009

International Automakers Oppose 'Right to Repair' Legislation

/PRNewswire/ -- In a hearing today on so-called "right to repair" legislation, a representative of international automakers cautioned Massachusetts lawmakers against burdening dealers and automakers with additional costs to correct a problem that doesn't exist.

According to Paul Ryan, director of government affairs at the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM), a close review by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2006 ". . .found no evidence of a systematic problem related to the inability of customers or auto repair shops to acquire the equipment needed to repair cars or access information needed to make timely repairs. In fact," said Ryan, "the FTC found only two relevant complaints as the result of an automated search of its more than 4 million complaints during the previous ten-year period and none in the random sample of some 6,700 complaints related in any way to auto repair."

Ryan's testimony was presented to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure of the Massachusetts legislature which held a hearing to consider passage of several related House and Senate "right to repair" bills.

Ryan also pointed out that a national organization already exists to ensure full access by independent repair shops to automakers' service and repair information. "The National Automotive Task Force (NASTF) was formed because. . .the business of servicing and repairing vehicles made today is not as easy or as inexpensive as it once was," said the AIAM executive. "In this connection, NASTF. . .serves as a mechanism for reporting and quickly resolving any information gaps that may, from time to time, exist."

Testimony by others opposing the so called "right to repair" legislation pointed out that the lobbying campaign behind this issue is largely financed by giant aftermarket parts retailers like AutoZone, CARQUEST and Genuine Parts/NAPA despite claims that most supporters are small "mom and pop" repair shops. According to the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and its 65,000 independent auto technicians, there is no problem accessing service and repair information from automakers. But the aftermarket parts companies listed above seek access to automakers' intellectual property via "right to repair."

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