“Right to repair” gives independent repair shops in Massachusetts diagnostic tools from automakers

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 10, 2012

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a "Right to Repair" bill into law last Tuesday. This means that automakers are compelled to give independent repair shops in Massachusetts the same access to diagnostic tools that franchised dealers have access to now. Previous attempts to pass such a bill were resisted by automakers due to concerns that they will have to redesign vehicle software throughout their U.S. product lineups.

The automakers asserted that older versions of this bill didn’t provide sufficient time to adjust their product development schedules so that they can meet the standards. They also complained about the requirement of "outdated" diagnostic software. Automakers then made a draft of a compromise bill with Right to Repair advocates and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association less than a day before the state's formal legislative session ended.

Gov. Patrick received the bill last week. In a statement, Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition, said that the new law will guarantee that independent repair shops won’t tell customers to go somewhere else since they don’t have the tools to fix their cars. Kinsman thanked the governor and the legislature for knowing the benefits that Right to Repair will offer to consumers.

This new consumer law will offer more choices, make local and neighborhood repair shops on equal ground with dealers, and encourage price competition. These result to consumer savings. Even when a compromise was entered by the Right to Repair Coalition and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, the statement claims a win against "big car makers," which took back "their opposition" to universal access for repair shops. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers represents 12 automakers, which include Toyota, Volkswagen and the Detroit 3. Meanwhile, the Association of Global Automakers represents Toyota, Honda, Nissan and 11 other import-brand automakers. [source: Automotive News - sub. required]

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