Australia and USA aftermarket associations join forces to take up the Right to Repair battle for independent workshops

Bill Hanvey, the Chief Executive Officer of Autocare USA, was a special guest at the recent Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo (AAAExpo).
Autocare is the equivalent Association to the AAAA in the USA and runs the popular Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas each year.
Talking at the AAAExpo, Bill emphasised how important it is for the relevant associations from each country to work together to fight the common enemy of the global carmakers.
Bill explained that Autocare represents 4.7 million jobs in the United States and that non-dealer workshops complete 70 percent, worth $US 500 million, of the automotive service and repair business. However, projections show that is likely to reduce to 54 percent in a decade’s time unless access to repair data is made law in the country.
It is a familiar battle around the world with car manufacturers trying to block work from independent workshops.
“The automakers want to create a monopoly and they want to create that cradle to grave relationship and they want to keep you (the independent workshops) out of the equation because you are the choice of the consumer three quarters of the time,” Bill said.
He said independent workshops in the US still often couldn’t diagnose a vehicle’s problem due to being locked out of the ECU by a secret code held only by the manufacturers.
“Anytime a shop owner gives up and has to send that job to the dealership, we have lost,” Bill said.
He pointed out that the car manufacturers were prepared to stoop to low levels to try to convince US voters not to allow Right to Repair laws to pass.
He told the story of the automakers spending $30 million in a scare campaign in the US state of Massachusetts, claiming independent workshop owners could use vehicle access codes to stalk their customers to commit domestic violence and sexual crimes.
Bill said he is encouraged by Australia’s recently passed Right to Repair legislation and draws on that success to inspire himself and his colleagues in their similar battle in the United States.
“We get asked quite frequently, what are other regions around the world doing? And Australia is always first mentioned in terms of what’s happening,” Bill said.
“We point to Australia as a success… there’s some battle scars around the world for this initiative. And we have to make sure that we lessen the battle scars for those regions that are beginning their fight for right to repair.
“And the best way to defeat the common enemy is to work together. We have learned that the automakers are very consistent in their approach – lawyers, lobbyists, and delay, deny, and distort.
“We recognise that and we work together to say, ‘’hey, let’s be careful of this’. So, it’s really quite helpful to have partners like AAAA and others around the globe.”

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