Auto industry solves its Right to Repair question

Blogs Lucas Deal January 23, 2014

I always hear people in the heavy-duty aftermarket say our industry is consistently seven to ten years behind the automotive industry.

It doesn’t matter what innovation or technology it is, if it is in use in the heavy-duty market, it probably debuted earlier somewhere in or around a car.

If that’s really true, then at least we finally have a timeline for the heavy-duty ‘Right to Repair’ issue.

Yesterday four automotive organizations — Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), the Association of Global Automakers (Global), the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality (CARE) — released a joint statement announcing the light-duty market has accepted a Right to Repair national agreement.

According to the four organizations, the national agreement will take elements found in Massachusetts’ 2013 Right to Repair ruling and extend the “essential provisions” nationwide.

“We are excited that consumers and independent repair facilities around the nation will have the same access to the information, tools and software needed to service late model computer controlled vehicles as is required under the Massachusetts right to repair statute,” says Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the AAIA. “We believe that the resulting competitive repair market is a win-win for car companies, the independent repair industry and most importantly consumers.”

While this is unquestionably good news for the automotive industry, it means the heavy-duty marketplace must now move forward and create its own resolution.

As those who have followed this issue know, that won’t be easy.

Commercial vehicles were included in one of two Right to Repair laws enacted in Massachusetts in 2012. And while they remained in the Commonwealth’s November 2013 reconciliation law merging the previous laws, their influence was limited.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at lucasdeal@randallreilly.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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