A joint committee hearing was held by the Consumer Affairs and Transportation committees of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on "Right to Repair." Testifying at the Philadelphia, Pa., hearing was three panels of witnesses, including automobile maintenance and repair shop owners.
Members of the auto coalition expressed concern with so-called "Right to Repair" legislation that has been introduced previously in the U.S. Congress and several states. Neither the Congress nor any state has ever passed "Right to Repair" legislation.
John Francis III of Francis Automotive in West Chester, Pa., testified for the Automotive Service Association (ASA), emphasizing that automotive service information is already available to independent repairers and consumers.
"At Francis Automotive, we use several third-party service information providers - ALLDATA, Identifix and an online service that includes technicians from all over the world, iATN - on a daily basis,” Francis testified. “As needed, our technicians will use automotive manufacturer Web sites. We have several aftermarket scan tools that we use and two auto manufacturer scan tools. Tools to perform reflashing are available for all makes of vehicles. It's a business decision regarding which tools to purchase."
Robert Redding Jr., ASA's Washington, D.C., representative, submitted comments on the National Automotive Service Task Force's (NASTF) role as a voluntary industry organization, having served as a mechanism to share information and resolve issues that arise in the areas of service information, tools and training.
“In the United States, we have about 500 million post-warranty repair service orders each year. Independent repair facilities repair approximately 75 percent of these cars,” said Redding. “NASTF is designed to address gaps in information that may occur in the repair. ASA and other industry partners have spent a great deal of time and resources on marketing the NASTF to independent repairers, encouraging repairers to contact NASTF if they had difficulty obtaining repair information from their third-party information provider or from the automaker Web sites.”
Matthew Godlewski, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said, "Automakers view independent repair shops as critical partners in vehicle repair. While factors such as styling and performance are key considerations when customers choose to purchase a vehicle from one of our companies - the factors of quality, dependability and reliability are among the most important in determining brand loyalty. A positive ownership experience for our customers throughout the vehicle lifecycle starts with the ease of getting their cars repaired. This ensures repeat business."
Godlewski closed by saying, "It is in the interests of automakers to partner with the aftermarket to ensure our customers can get their vehicles repaired."
Howard Pitkow, longtime ASA Mechanical Division Operations Committee member and owner of Wagenwerx Inc. in Wyndmoor, Pa., also spoke at the Pennsylvania hearing highlighting that "Right to Repair" legislation is not necessary and industry resources would be better spent on training for technicians.
To view a complete summary of the federal right to repair legislation, along with the full text, visit ASA's legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.