According to a survey of more than 1,000 independent repair shop owners, service managers and service technicians by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), $5.8 billion in service and parts sales is being lost annually because they are unable to readily access the necessary repair information and tools from car manufacturers to properly diagnose and repair vehicles. The survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, directly contradicts recent statements made by the Consumers Union through Consumer Reports that the service information issue has been solved.
“This survey just reinforces what we have been trying to tell our legislators and our customers for years,” says AASP/NJ President Tom Elder. “There are $5.8 billion reasons why we need to have the Right-to-Repair bill passed into law.”
The survey also found that independent repair shops lose additional sales when forced to turn away 1.2 million consumers each year because they do not have the information and tools to diagnose and repair their customer’s vehicle. Also, 70 percent of survey respondents revealed that they have no confidence that vehicle manufacturers will always provide them with the necessary tools and information in the future, according to AAIA.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says AASP/NJ’s Bob Everett. “We knew that this was going to happen and happen fast. That’s why it is crucial for our industry to contact their legislators and let them know how important the Right-to-Repair bill is to their businesses, employees and families. If we don’t get this done soon, many of our shops will sink like the Titanic.”
AAIA President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz reinforced AASP/NJ’s concerns. “Without a doubt, this independent survey demonstrates the extensive problems being encountered by independent repair shops that cannot obtain the tools and information they need to be competitive with new car dealers. Not only are the independents losing billions of dollars in business, too many consumers are being inconvenienced by being forced to take their vehicle to a dealership after being turned away by their first choice local repair shop.”
The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act, which was introduced by Reps. Joe Barton, (R-TX), Edolphus Towns, (D-NY) and Darrel Issa (R-CA), would require the car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independents that they provide their franchised dealer networks. Architects of the “Right to Repair Act” added new language this year to clarify that car company trade secrets are protected unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealer. The new language also clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s requirements.