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Tuesday October 1

AAIA and AWDA Continue Fight for Right to Repair Legislation Despite Car Company Deal

The Automotive Parts and Service Alliance, comprised of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), will continue to support passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right To Repair Act.

The decision came as a result of an announcement by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), in partnership with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, that a deal had been struck with the car companies. According to the deal, car companies promise to release "emission and non-emission related service information, training information and diagnostic tools," to the independent repair industry. This action was taken without input from any other industry associations that have worked with the coalition in support of this legislation.

"While AAIA and AWDA are pleased that the car companies have agreed to make service information available to the independent aftermarket, we are concerned that the agreement does not contain sufficient measures to ensure that service information and enhanced diagnostic capabilities will be available to the independent service industry," said Alfred L. Gaspar, AAIA president and CEO.

According to APSA officials, the agreement fails to ensure the availability of diagnostic capabilities through aftermarket tools, but instead would require the aftermarket to purchase car company tools that are often too expensive for independents to afford. The agreement further provides an option for the car companies to make information available through the World Wide Web or through the same method provide to their new car dealers.

"AAIA and AWDA believe that it is critical that independents have cost effective access to this information and both associations are concerned that the proprietary method used by the dealer might not be affordable or workable for the small businesses in the service industry," stated Aaron Lowe, vice president for the Automotive Parts and Service Alliance.

"Of great concern to AAIA and AWDA member companies is that the agreement does not contain any enforcement mechanism or regulatory recourse should the car companies fail to live up to their commitments," said Jim Eady, AWDA president. "The Federal Trade Commission needs to be involved in the enforcement of this agreement. While we are pleased with the progress, without some oversight, the aftermarket and the motoring public have no assurance, that in the long term, service information and tools will be available to ensure a competitive vehicle service industry."

APSA's immediate plans call for the continued monitoring of car company information availability issues, with AAIA and AWDA reinforcing its strong efforts in support of the Motor Vehicle Owners Right To Repair Act. "We feel that is the only way to ensure the interests of the small businesses that make up the bulk of the vehicle maintenance and repair industry are protected," said Lowe.

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