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Government Oversight of Auto Manufacturers Needed to Protect Consumers


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BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 6, 2008 - As car manufacturers add more computer technology to vehicles, smart oversight over the automotive industry is needed to protect consumers from the added costs created by a vehicle repair monopoly, according to Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

"It has become clear in recent days that a competitive marketplace backed by smart government oversight will protect American consumers and small businesses," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "Local vehicle repair shops are fighting for the same oversight protection, the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act, to guarantee that consumers can choose where they want their vehicle serviced and repaired."

Historically, independent repair shops have had complete access to repair information, but as computers have become more prevalent on newer vehicles, car manufacturers are increasingly locking out car owners and their trusted repair shops from critical safety alerts as well as the information and software necessary to use on-board computers to complete repairs. The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (H.R. 2694) was introduced in Congress to offer protections for vehicle owners by making it illegal for vehicle manufacturers to withhold information necessary to diagnose, service or repair motor vehicles.

"Clearly, using advances in technology to deny motorists their right to choose where they have their car repaired is a misuse of these computers and certainly not in the best interest of consumers," continued Schmatz. "Without Right to Repair legislation, many motorists may forgo important vehicle repairs due to higher new car dealer repair costs. The situation would be exacerbated if there is no dealership in the vicinity, dramatically increasing the cost of fuel and the travel time."