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SCRS Technology Summit: Why Do Some OEMs Charge for Access to Collision Repair Procedures?

One of the more interesting conversations during the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit in Las Vegas centered on OEM repair procedures.

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Josh Cable has 17 years of experience as a writer and editor for newspapers, B2B publications and marketing organizations. His areas of expertise include U.S. manufacturing, lean/Six Sigma and workplace safety and health.

Panelists in the final session of the Nov. 2 SCRS OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit, from left to right: Mark Allen, Erica Eversman, John Ellis (moderator), Aaron Clark and Todd Tracy

 

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Thanks to the Auto Care Association’s 2014 Right to Repair memorandum of understanding, OEMs must make the same service information available to independent repair shops that they provide to their franchised dealers.

But some OEMs charge a fee for that information. During the final sessions of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit in Las Vegas, attorney Todd Tracy asked, “Why?”

“Because it’s part of the data package and information package that’s purchased in the franchise agreement,” answered Mark Allen, collision programs and workshop equipment specialist for Audi of America.

Tracy, who represented the Seebachans’ in the landmark lawsuit against John Eagle Collision Center, countered that ensuring a proper repair “starts at the top.”

“The OEMs are the ones that design, develop, manufacture and test the vehicles that you put out there,” Tracy said. “You guys are in lockstep. The OEMs ought to be giving these shops as much as access as they can so that they can [perform a proper repair].”

Audi’s Mark Allen: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

Citing studies indicating that only 20 percent of shops consult the OEM repair procedures, Allen asserted that following the prescribed repair specifications needs to be part of a shop’s culture.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” Allen added. “It’s appalling to me because whether you offer [the OEM repair specifications] for free or minimal charge, if that’s not part of your culture – what you should do every time, what we teach in our classes – then shame on you.”

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