The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) applauds United States Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) for introducing the “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act.”
The legislation (H.R. 6570), the ABPA states, will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 288 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles — 70% of which are maintained by independent repair facilities.
As vehicle technology continues to advance, the ABPA claims that the car companies are creating new barriers that limit consumer choice and increase the cost to repair and maintain vehicles. The ABPA believes the REPAIR Act will reduce these barriers, putting consumers’ interests first.
The REPAIR Act will accomplish this by:
- Preserving consumer access to high-quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
- Ensuring access to critical repair tools and information. All tools and equipment; wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data; and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry.
- Ensuring cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely.
- Providing transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed that they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired.
- Creating a stakeholder advisory committee and providing them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the FTC on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance.
- Providing ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim.
“This is an important day for the automotive aftermarket and a long time coming,” said Ed Salamy, executive director of the ABPA. “For years, the car companies have been utilizing various methods to eliminate the aftermarket which, in turn, affects consumers and their wallets. The REPAIR Act will allow consumers to control the repair process for their vehicles, protect consumer choice and maintain a strong aftermarket that contributes millions of U.S. jobs. The REPAIR Act compliments the ‘Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act,’ which addresses the issue of car companies abusing design patents on repair parts.”
Added Rep. Rush, “Americans should not be forced to bring their cars to more costly and inconvenient dealerships for repairs when independent auto repair shops are often cheaper and far more accessible. But as cars become more advanced, manufacturers are getting sole access to important vehicle data while independent repair shops are increasingly locked out. The status quo for auto repair is not tenable, and it is getting worse. If the monopoly on vehicle repair data continues, it would affect nearly 860,000 blue-collar workers and 274,000 service facilities.”
The ABPA is a member of the CAR Coalition, which is one of the main driving forces behind both the REPAIR and SMART Acts.