AKRON — Three auto aftermarket trade groups — the Auto Care Association (ACA), the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) — are distancing themselves from a recent "Right-To-Repair Pact," calling it in the ACA's case, a "thinly veiled response by the automotive OEMs" to the REPAIR Act.
The pact — signed by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCEA) and Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) on July 11 — affirms and updates a 2014 Memorandum of Understanding on R2R that says "independent repair facilities shall have access to the same diagnostic and repair information that auto manufacturers make available to authorized dealer networks," according to a news release from the parties.
In a letter to Congress, the signers wrote, "This commitment was created with our mutual and valued customers in mind: vehicle owners. It affirms that consumers deserve access to safe and proper repairs throughout a vehicle's lifecycle [and] it is built to last because it anticipates changes in automotive technologies and market evolutions."
The Automotive Repair Data Sharing Commitment includes thousands of independent auto repair professionals and the auto makers producing most of the vehicles sold in the U.S. According to the signers, the agreement:
- Secures consumer choice in automotive repair;
- Gives drivers the ability to have vehicles serviced "anytime, anywhere, anyplace;"
- Applies to all vehicle technologies and powertrains;
- Covers access to telematics data required to diagnose and repair vehicles.
In a statement that same day, the ACA called out the agreement, saying that it was created to cause confusion and that it only affirms the 2014 agreement "rather than implement a meaningful solution to preserve the entire automotive aftermarket and the competition and consumer choice that it creates."
The ACA outlined what it said were flaws in the agreement, including:
- The lack of a compliance component;
- That it doesn't cover all auto makers, including Tesla Inc., or require new auto makers to join;
- Doesn't offer the aftermaker or consumers direct access to telemetrics but only makes those data available through OEM systems and tools, which could burden shops with needing to purchase multiple third-party tools; and
- Doesn't address safety and security concerns.
The ACA also criticized its lack of involvement in the agreement as a national trade organization "representing over 536,000 companies and affiliates that manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, services, tools, equipment, materials, and supplies," saying that the involved auto service agencies — the ASA and the SCEA — do not represent the auto aftermarket and only represent "a small fraction of the independent repair market."
TIA issued a statement on July 13 also not endorsing the agreement and echoing many of those concerns.
"While TIA acknowledges the positive intent and certain aspects of the agreement, the current pact falls short in adequately addressing the concerns of consumers and protecting their rights along with those of the independent automotive repair market," Roy Littlefield IV, TIA's vice president of government affairs, said.
TIA criticized the agreement's lack of enforcement mechanisms, adding that without a means to ensure compliance, consumers will be vulnerable to exploitation and inadequate protection.
"TIA firmly believes that any meaningful right-to-repair initiative must possess robust enforcement mechanisms to safeguard consumer rights effectively," Littlefield said.
The association said that the agreement also does not adequately address telematics systems, lacking a "comprehensive framework to address this vital concern." And that it does not include all automakers.
"While TIA appreciates the spirit and elements of the agreement, it firmly believes that the current pact does not resolve the core issues faced by consumers in the tire industry," Littlefield said. "Instead, it creates confusion and potential harm, ultimately falling short of meeting the pressing needs of consumers."
SEMA, in a statement on July 13, called the agreement a step in the right direction, but noted that the agreement was non-binding and only included access to telematics and data available through the OBDII port, rather than giving consumers and the aftermarket direct access to that information.
"Simply put, the MOU does not provide the full protections needed to maintain a competitive repair and modification market in the future," SEMA said.
SEMA, TIA and the ACA all voiced their continued support the REPAIR Act (H.R. 906), federal right-to-repair legislation introduced this year.
"The REPAIR Act is a comprehensive and critical piece of federal legislation that preserves competition, affordability, accessibility, and a vibrant supply chain," the ACA said.