Right to Repair Vote a 'Victory for the Entire Aftermarket'

Nov. 6, 2020

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is calling the recent Right to Repair vote in Massachusetts "a victory for the entire automotive aftermarket," including independent tire dealerships.

The win "will allow independent repair shops to remain competitive with franchise car dealership's service operations as technology in vehicles increases," says TIA CEO Roy Littlefield.

The issue, which was listed as "Question 1" on the Massachusetts ballot,  “stated that vehicle manufacturers must make available all mechanical information needed to diagnose and repair cars, as well as perform routine maintenance starting with 2022 models, over a secure, open access platform that independent repair shops can access, when authorized by the car's owner," according to Question 1, according to the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition.

“By voting yes on 1, Massachusetts has now updated Right to Repair for the modern age of connected vehicles,” says Tommy Hickey, the coalition's director. 

The victory extends the Right to Repair Act first passed in 2012 in Massachusetts, which was later expanded nationwide. That law mandated that auto makers make available the same diagnostic and repair data available to independents that car companies provide their own car dealerships and certified repair facilities.

However, the law exempted data shared wirelessly through telematics. With more than 90% of new cars transmitting real-time repair information wirelessly, independent repair shops would soon have limited or no access, according to a Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee fact sheet.

Opponents to "Question 1" raised concerns over consumer privacy, data ownership and usage rights.

The vote sent a clear mandate, says Hickey. “The people have spoken – by a huge margin – in favor of immediately updating right to repair so it applies to today’s high-tech cars and trucks.”

“The drive to pass 'Question 1' was a grassroots effort with many industry associations, including the New England Tire & Automotive Association, the Tire Industry Association and independent tire dealerships and wholesalers, joining in the effort,” notes Littlefield. 

“This is a victory for the entire automotive aftermarket and will allow independent repair shops to remain competitive with franchise car dealerships’ service operations as technology in vehicles increases.”

Click here to read MTD's report from earlier in the week.