Under the new deal, the groups said independent repair shops will continue to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information automakers make available to their authorized dealer networks even as technology evolves. That access also applies to telematics data needed to diagnose and repair a vehicle, if not otherwise available. It also covers all vehicle technologies and powertrains, including battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
The parties also have pledged to work together on education and training, with additional resources available to independent repair shops such as through an automaker’s repair website or via third-party information providers, software and tools.
They are also committed to working together in support of federal legislation “to codify the various provisions of this commitment, ensuring consumer choice in vehicle repairs across the country” and to oppose any federal or state legislation that directly conflicts with the commitment.
“Automakers support right to repair, and today’s independent auto repair market is working well with lots of competition,” John Bozzella, CEO of the alliance, said in a statement.
“Auto repairers across the US have access to the same repair and diagnostic information provided to auto dealers. It’s not just automakers who say this. It’s the Federal Trade Commission. And with today’s agreement, it’s also the thousands of independent auto repairers and small businesses in all 50 states who together with automakers have once again made this fundamental commitment to customers.”
The agreement comes as Congress considers right-to-repair legislation that, in part, targets the auto industry: the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair and Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation acts.
The REPAIR Act was reintroduced by Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., in February. It would mandate that vehicle owners and independent repair shops have the same access to repair and maintenance tools and data as automakers and their franchised dealerships.
It would also require all tools and equipment, wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data and access to on-board diagnostics and telematics systems needed for vehicle repairs to be made available to the independent repair industry.
The SMART Act, which was reintroduced in March by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., would amend US patent law by reducing the time automakers can enforce design patents on collision repair parts to two and half years from 14 years against aftermarket parts suppliers.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Senate and House Committee leaders outlining the commitment, the three trade groups said the updated agreement was “built to last” and “anticipates changes in automotive technologies.”
“It should reassure you that independent repairers and automakers are not at odds on automotive data access, but rather in lockstep on this fundamental principle: Consumers should have a choice when it comes to repair options and the ability to have their vehicle serviced in well-equipped shops by well-trained technicians anytime, anywhere, anyplace,” they wrote.