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Letter to the Editor
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Wednesday October 9

Independent Vehicle Repair Industry Ads Thank U.S. Reps. Barton & Towns for Support for the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act

A group of automotive aftermarket companies and associations involved in the $200 Billion-a-year independent auto repair industry have placed advertisements in two top Capitol Hill newspapers, Roll Call and The Hill, thanking U.S. Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) for their solid commitment to motoring consumers by continuing to support HR 2735, "The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act." The Congressmen introduced HR 2735 in August 2001, and have contacted key colleagues urging cosponsorship and congressional action, including hearings.

HR 2735 would require car manufacturers to release repair information on vehicles built in 1996 and later (including some earlier models) so that independent mechanics and motorists would be able to quickly and safely repair their vehicles. Currently, much of this repair information is withheld from drivers and mechanics in order to force vehicle owners to have repairs done solely by the car dealers. Car dealer vehicle repairs can cost up to 20% more than what independent repair shops charge, greatly impacting low, fixed and middle-income drivers.

The ads come on the heels of an announcement by U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), the sponsor of a companion bill, who abandoned his efforts for passage of his bill in the Senate after car manufacturers penned a non- enforceable "promise" to release vehicle information -- a full eight months later than their original proposal.

Only one of the many organizations supporting the Wellstone-Barton/Towns bills agreed to the contents of the car manufacturers' proposal. Similar, previous commitments by the manufacturers were not fulfilled.

The companies and organizations sponsoring the ads are:

  1. The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE), representing: NAPA, Midas, CARQUEST, AutoZone, Advance Auto, Jiffy Lube, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, and CSK (Checker, Schuck's, Kragen)
  2. Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
  3. Associated Locksmiths of America
  4. Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association
  5. Alliance of Automotive Service Providers
  6. Service Station Dealers of America & Allied Trades
  7. Tire Industry Association

Five million people are employed in the automotive aftermarket nationwide in over 495,000 locations.

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