Last week, the Biden Administration announced its intention to issue an Executive Order directing the Department of Agriculture to address right to repair concerns for tractors and calling on the Federal Trade Commission to address repair barriers that are erected by manufacturers, specifically citing mobile phones. While the Order has yet to be released, the Auto Care Association was pleased that the Administration recognizes the importance of right to repair to ensuring consumer have access to a competitive repair market.
Unlike many industries, the aftermarket has been fortunate to have made major progress in the right to repair efforts highlighted by the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Auto Care Association, the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) and the vehicle manufacturers in 2014, and that ensure access to the repair information, tools and software needed to repair late model vehicles. Notwithstanding the progress, manufacturers continue to place barriers in the way of independent repair shops being able to service vehicles.
Ranging from car company OE parts marketing practices to access to in-vehicle data, independent repair shops and their suppliers continue to be challenged in providing repair maintenance for U.S. car owners. Many of these issues facing the vehicle aftermarket were outlined in the recent FTC report entitled “Nixing the Fix, a Report to Congress”. On June 30th, Auto Care Association along with six other automotive aftermarket trade groups sent a letter to the FTC calling for the Commission to take action to address concerns outlined in their report.
The Auto Care Association will be meeting with FTC in the coming days to urge them to engage in a multi sector rulemaking to address right to repair issues across all industries, as well as those that might be more sector specific to the aftermarket. “It is heartening to see that the right to repair efforts that Auto Care Association has been pressing for over the last two decades are now gaining traction in the Federal government,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We urge the Administration and the FTC to take strong actions in order to reduce anti-competitive barriers to repair for our industry so that we can continue to service our customer’s vehicles.”
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