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January 22, 2014

Industry groups: right to repair debate is over

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), the Association of Global Automakers (Global), the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality (CARE) announced their collective acceptance of a national agreement to ensure consumer choice in post-warranty auto repair, decisively ending the longstanding “right to repair” debate within the industry. 

The national agreement is based on a law finalized in Massachusetts in Nov. 2013.  The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) extends the essential provisions for all light vehicles negotiated in the Massachusetts law nationwide; it impacts all companies and organizations that are currently members of the signatory associations.

In a joint press release announcing the agreement, the Alliance, Global, AAIA, and CARE said they will work collectively to oppose individual state legislation while each association works to implement the MOU. The groups say they agree that further state legislation is not needed and could serve to weaken the effectiveness and clarity of the MOU.

“Automakers manufacture high quality, innovative vehicles that provide strong value, safety, and convenience to our customers,” says Mitch Bainwol, CEO and president of the Alliance. “Accessible, efficient, accurate, and competitively-priced repair and service are paramount, and franchised dealers and the aftermarket play unique and important roles in the repair process.”

Kathleen Schmatz, CEO and president of the AAIA, says: “We are excited that consumers and independent repair facilities around the nation will have the same access to the information, tools and software needed to service late model computer controlled vehicles as is required under the Massachusetts right to repair statute. We believe that the resulting competitive repair market is a win-win for car companies, the independent repair industry and most importantly consumers.”

Mike Stanton, CEO and president of Global, says: “Much like with fuel efficiency economy and greenhouse gases, a single national standard regarding vehicle repair protocols is imperative. A patchwork of fifty differing state bills, each with its own interpretations and compliance parameters doesn’t make sense.  This agreement provides the uniform clarity our industry needs and a nationwide platform to move on.”

Ray Pohlman, president of CARE, says:  “Since the first Right to Repair Act was introduced in Congress in 2001, CARE and the automotive aftermarket have worked to ensure our customers continue to have the right to choose where they buy their parts and have their vehicles serviced. This agreement will ensure vehicle owners will have competitive and quality choices in their repairs while strengthening the auto repair industry nationwide.  This agreement illustrates what can happen when organizations focus on putting customers and consumers first.”

For recent stories on right to repair, see Mass. tries to reconcile right to repair laws and Heavy-duty added to Mass. Right to Repair bill.

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