Canadian automakers to share information with small auto repair shops

Let’s hope that the agreement between the Canadian automakers and small independent auto repair shops would put a dent into auto dealers’ monopoly of information practice.
Nowadays, a car has lots of computerized equipment, that makes very often the diagnosis a pretty elaborate process. It’s not sufficient to have a diagnosis tool – very expensive by the way- you have to have access to information. This vital information has been,until now, the ‘privilege’ of dealerships.

The agreement will give customers the chance to have the repairs done by shops charging $60/hour vs $130/hour charged by auto dealers. More business for small shops and more money into our pocket.

Following is the article, courtesy of The Star.
“Canadian automakers and repair shops say they have reached an agreement that will give consumers more choice on where to fix their vehicles and lower bills.

The deal, which will avoid federal legislation, includes a standard that will give repair shops access auto manufacturers’ service and repair information plus tooling and training information before next May.

“This agreement ensures that all auto manufacturers will provide access to service and repair information which will increase competition in Canada’s service and repair industry for the benefit of Canadian consumers,” said Dale Finch, executive vice-president of the National Automotive Trades Association (NATA) which represents more than 5,000 repair shops across the country.

“This agreement will provide the flexibility needed to address concerns of local repair facilities and our customers, given the increasingly complex nature of motor vehicles and rapidly changing vehicle technology.”

However the deal did not include support from the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, a bigger trade group which represents parts makers, distributors, wholesalers and repair outlets.

Repair shops have complained for years that manufacturers were withholding information, which made it difficult for them to repair some models and forced consumers to fix their vehicles at new auto dealerships.

Industry Minister Tony Clement had urged the automakers and repair shops earlier this year to find a voluntary solution, adding that existing practices “were no longer an option.”

In supporting today’s voluntary agreement, Clement said it will improve competition and lower bills for consumers.

“The agreement will make information and tools available to independent repair shops . . . for the repair of all vehicles,” he said.

“Often, fixing vehicles today is more about the car’s computer system than it’s about nuts and bolts and so, in order to repair and service newer vehicles, there are highly specialized and specific tools that require technical training and diagnostic information.”

The industries association had supported a private member’s bill to address the issue last spring. The House of Commons voted to send the bill from Brain Masse of the NDP to the federal industry committee for review.”

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