Choice of Repairer Campaign Moves Forward

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For man many years our readers have been complaining about the difficulty of accessing OE technical info and data. Maybe finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Federal Minister for Small Business, the Hon Bruce Billson MP, has confirmed the need for protection of car owners’ rights to choose their preferred repairer through an industry-led code of practice to facilitate the sharing of vital vehicle repair and service data.

A recent meeting between Minister Billson and the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the Minister indicated his intention to ensure that the recommendations made in the recent Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) Inquiry into vehicle data sharing are fully implemented.

The CCAAC inquiry found that by restricting repair information to only their authorised dealership networks, car companies have the power to reduce competition within the automotive repair industry, limiting consumer choice.
The CCAAC called for an industry code of practice to facilitate data sharing between car makers and independent automotive repairers to allow the independent workshops access to the data they need to effectively diagnose faults and service modern vehicles.

“The Australian automotive aftermarket simply wants the barriers to service and repair information eliminated so their customers’ vehicles can be kept in safe and reliable condition. We are not asking for access to the manufacturers’ intellectual property. And the aftermarket industry is prepared to pay a fair price for the data,”

said Stuart Charity.

Data sharing overseas

This Federal Government support for an industry-led solution to facilitate vehicle data sharing aligns Australia with the USA, Canada and the European Union (EU). The EU has had regulations in place since 2002 and in 2010 they were renewed and strengthened with their Block Exemption Regulation in place until 2023. In the USA, a voluntary code of conduct for data sharing has been in place for over 10 years and in 2012 the State of Massachusetts passed a Right to Repair bill to protect car owners. It is anticipated that the USA will shortly announce a national agreement on vehicle data sharing, which mirrors the provisions included in the Massachusetts bill.

Stuart Charity said these overseas arrangements include the same vehicle producers that supply the Australian market.

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