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'Right to Repair' negotiations break down

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Negotiations between aftermarket groups and vehicle manufacturers over the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (H.R. 2048) concluded without a non-legislative agreement.

"While a great deal of progress was made during the negotiations, critical issues that could impact the future viability of the agreement and the ability of independent shops to repair late model highly sophisticated vehicle systems remain unresolved," says Kathleen Schmatz, CEO and president of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

"Right to repair" legislation now being considered by Congress would mandate that car companies make the same information and tools available to the aftermarket that they make available to the new car dealers.

Issues that remain unresolved include:

* governance of a reconstituted and enhanced National Automotive Service Task Force that would have been equally managed by both the aftermarket and the vehicle manufacturers and would have assisted technicians obtain necessary information and tools for vehicle repair;

* whether independent technicians would be able to obtain full access to all diagnostic and repair capabilities that are available to the car company franchised dealer; and

* if the necessary tools and software would have been provided to independent shops to repair vehicles equipped with anti-theft immobilizer systems.

"AAIA and CARE (Coalition for Auto Repair Equality) believe that both sides made strong efforts to reach an agreement, the positions of both groups on these issues were too far apart to be resolved," says CARE President David Parde. "It was our hope that we could avoid legislation, but it is clear that absent a statute, many of the vehicle manufacturers are not going to change their policies that favor new car dealers."

Schmatz says that although AAIA, CARE and other groups supporting H.R. 2048 "remain open to the future possibility that a deal could reached, at the present time we believe that it is in the best interest of the independent aftermarket and its customers to continue to push for passage of right to repair legislation in order to ensure competition in the vehicle repair and service market, now and into the future."

For more information about the Right to Repair Act visit www.RightToRepair.com.

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