Auto dealers see no need for this legislation

September 17, 2009

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Auto dealers see no need for this legislation
THE MASSACHUSETTS State Auto Dealers Association and our 437 franchise dealers take strong issue with your Sept. 11 editorial regarding the “right to repair’’ legislation (“Car repairs: May the best mechanic win’’).

In reality, automakers already make available to independent repair shops all the information and equipment they need to diagnose, service, or repair a motor vehicle. The repairers just do not want to pay for them.

In contrast, our dealers receive nothing for free from their franchise manufacturers. Dealers spend a lot of money annually as required by their franchise agreements to purchase tools, equipment, and parts, to improve and maintain repair facilities, and to train their employees to meet their manufacturers’ certification standards. If they do not, they can lose their franchise. (Now repeat all those expenditures for any dealer who repairs vehicles outside of the franchise make.)

Further, the independent repairers’ claim that they are struggling because they don’t have access to repair information is ludicrous. The Globe reported recently on how the auto repair and after-market parts industries are thriving because car owners are spending money on repair work rather than taking on new car payments. In fact, more than 70 percent of all post-warranty repairs are performed outside of franchised dealerships.

If there were a real problem, we would be right there supporting the bills. In reality, the “right to repair’’ bills are bad public policy and unnecessary.

Robert O’Koniewski
Executive vice president Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Association

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