Aftermarket Insider Issue 70 - (Page 15)
I N S I D E L EG I S L AT I O N
Keeping the Pressure on Right to Repair
This is an excerpt from a Right to Repair commentary by Aaron Lowe, AAIA vice president, government affairs. For the full text of the commentary, visit www.aftermarket.org/government/righttorepair.
These has been a lot of discussion
lately about whether AAIA and others should continue the effort for passage of Right to Repair legislation, based on the apparent absence of success in moving the bill across the finish line to enactment. A battle that has gone on as long as Right to Repair would understandably create weariness by those on both sides. But anyone urging a truce must first examine the stakes and what will be necessary to protect the interests of our industry.
ment parts sale. While they sell a lot of parts to independents, they still are not the major supplier. If the manufacturers can control the flow of information and tools, they also likely can control the sale of parts, which is considerably more profitable to them than the sale of new cars. The name of the game is not so much a monopoly on the service of vehicles, but in control of the service market.
I can’t speak for the car companies and their allies, including the new car dealers and the Automotive Service Association (ASA), as to why they continue to spend huge sums to fight Right to Repair. They continually espouse the issue of aftermarket companies stealing parts design based on the release of service information, but anyone reading the legislation would determine that the bill only requires the release of the same information that is provided to the new car dealers. The car companies claim that everything is available — then why the big fight? I’d argue that the level of protection of their secrets is likely NOT the real concern with Right to Repair. I suspect that the battle over Right to Repair is really about parts, but not in the way the manufacturers have asserted. The manufacturers make a sizable profit from their replace-
Absent Right to Repair legislation, AAIA is concerned that control of our industry will move away from consumers, into the hands of the original equipment These are questions that AAIA and manufacturers. Yes, we others in the Right to Repair battle hear all the time that the have asked, and we don’t like the car companies are making answers. If the government does not a great deal of the inforplay a role in ensuring that informamation available to tion and tools are made available to independents. independents, then who will force Yes, we are two parties with significant economic proud of the interests to cooperate? We believe that fact that our when markets work they should be left efforts to enact alone, but when they don’t, the governRight to Repair ment must step in. The Right to Repair have played a bills attempt minimize that role, but in role in forcing the end there must be a place, an indethe car compapendent arbitrator with teeth to step nies to make in and ensure a competitive market. information and tools available to our AAIA and many of its members are industry. However, in this battle to ensure the competipolitical pressure is tive future of our industry. This means only effective when it that independents and their customers is being applied. Once have full access to the same informathe pressure is off, tion, software and tools that dealers what will keep the have to effectively repair vehicles. industry independent How we get to that point is negotiable, from the control of but we MUST get to that point. the manufacturers?
To each shop: If the car companies stop providing the information, what’s next? Where would you turn for information if the dealer that has worked with you in the past, decides it is no longer in their best interest to work with you? What if manufacturers start determining that they will select shops as their “preferred providers” based on their parts purchase history, and you find yourself on the outside looking in on the repair market? Yes, an antitrust suit might solve the problem, but how long would that take and how much would the litigation cost?
AFTERMARKET INSIDER | VOLUME 70 | 15
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aftermarket Insider Issue 70
Aftermarket Insider Issue 70
Digital Aftermarket Factbook 2012
Car Care in California
Toolbox: Employee Morale
Aftermarket Insider Issue 70
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