DALLAS-After two years under the wing of the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association, the Maintenance Awareness Program (MAP) is flying off on its own to form a separate organization, known as the Automotive Mainte-nance & Repair Association. During a Sept. 10 meeting at the National Tire Dealers & Retread-ers Association convention in Dallas, members of Bethesda, Md.-based MAP voted to accept the change as well as new bylaws for the association. They also approved the appointment of nine board members, representing a range of companies and associations.
MAP-a coalition dedicated to strengthening customer satisfaction with the automotive repair industry-will continue to operate within the parameters of the new association.
According to the new bylaws, the organization will ``represent the in-terests, common policies and purposes'' of firms that provide automotive service and repair, their suppliers and related companies.
Its purpose will include providing a medium for the exchange of ideas concerning the industry; conducting and participating in educational seminars, expositions, workshops and trade shows; encouraging cooperation among the various elements of the automotive industry; and promoting a predetermined set of automotive service goals and standards.
The new group is open to any company or its representatives engaged in the automotive service and repair business. Currently, more than 100 automotive companies belong to MAP.
Lawrence S. Hecker has stepped down from his post as APAA president to become MAP's president.
Since its formation in 1992 in the wake of nationwide allegations of automotive service fraud against Sears, Roebuck and Co., MAP ``has evolved into a truly consumer-centered organization,'' Mr. Hecker said. ``Leaving APAA will give MAP's ties to consumer and regulatory groups increased weight in relation to its ties to the repair industry.
``This is vital if MAP is to successfully implement programs such as the (Better Business Bureau's) Alternative Dispute Resolution system, which requires third-party impartiality.''
MAP was begun by a group of service providers, manufacturers, associations and others concerned about the reputation of the auto repair industry and its treatment by the media.
One of MAP's primary goals-under the leadership of its Uniform Inspection Procedures Committee-has been the establish-ment of uniform installer in-spection guidelines for use industrywide as a checklist by service personnel.
During the MAP meeting at the NTDRA show, members unanimously accepted uniform procedures for inspecting and servicing antilock brake systems. Earlier this year they adopted such guidelines for automotive brake and exhaust systems.
On Oct. 5 and 6, suspension guidelines will be finalized, followed by the first meeting of MAP's new board, Oct. 6.
Tom Placek, MAP coordinator, said the group also is wrapping up inspection and service procedures for vehicle engine, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and on Oct. 13 will begin work on establishing electrical system guidelines.
The group's other committees include: industry preventive maintenance; consumer education; consumer preventive maintenance; proactive issues/liaison; image enhancement; and a service provider task force.
According to MAP, issues of concern to that task force include:
Technician competence and access to accurate information needed for diagnosis and completion of repair;
Recruitment and training of quality technicians;
Compensation methods, including commission-based sales, flat rate manuals and sales contests;
The correlation between dealer repair cost and repair quality;
Development of a Code of Ethics for the auto industry; and
Problems in shop management systems as they relate to management ethics.