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National Agreement Ends “Right to Repair” Debate

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Jan. 22, 2014—Four automotive groups—the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers, the Aftermarket Industry Association, and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality (CARE)—announced Wednesday that they will be banding together to ensure consumers have choices in post-warranty auto repair.

The national agreement, which ends the prolonged “Right to Repair” debate within the industry, is based on a recent law finalized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) extends the essential provisions for all light vehicles negotiated in the Massachusetts law nationwide. It impacts all companies and organizations that are currently members of the signatory associations.

This national agreement ensures the four groups will stand down in their fight on "Right to Repair" and work collectively to actively oppose individual state legislation while the respective groups work to implement the MOU.

In the meantime, the parties agree that further state legislation is not needed and could serve to weaken the effectiveness and clarity of the MOU.

"Automakers manufacture high quality, innovative vehicles that provide strong value, safety, and convenience to our customers," said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Accessible, efficient, accurate, and competitively-priced repair and service are paramount, and franchised dealers and the aftermarket play unique and important roles in the repair process."

The change was also lauded as a way to streamline laws across the entire country.

"Much like with fuel efficiency economy and greenhouse gases, a single national standard regarding vehicle repair protocols is imperative," said Mike Stanton, president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers. "A patchwork of 50 differing state bills, each with its own interpretations and compliance parameters doesn't make sense. This agreement provides the uniform clarity our industry needs and a nationwide platform to move on."

The “Right to Repair” act required automobile manufacturers to provide the same information to independent repair shops as they do for dealerships, and has been a point of contention for independent shops and consumers.

"Since the first Right to Repair Act was introduced in Congress in 2001, CARE and the automotive aftermarket have worked to ensure our customers continue to have the right to choose where they buy their parts and have their vehicles serviced," said Ray Pohlman, president of CARE. "This agreement will ensure vehicle owners will have competitive and quality choices in their repairs while strengthening the auto repair industry nationwide. This agreement illustrates what can happen when organizations focus on putting customers and consumers first.”

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