Consumer Groups, Car Owners and Small-Business Owners to Demonstrate
7 January 2000
/Consumer Groups, Car Owners and Small-Business Owners to Demonstrate at L.A. Auto Show Against Unfair Regulations That Threaten to Cost Car Owners Billions )--
Car in Chains, Circling Tow Trucks to Dramatize
Auto-Repair "Lockout" by Carmakers,
Highlight Need for Consumer Protection Legislation
Members of Consumers for Auto Reliability & Safety, the Consumer Federation of California, Consumer Action, the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and other consumer interest groups, along with car owners, auto mechanics, repair-shop owners and others, will gather in a protest against practices by the car companies and their franchised dealers that cost jobs and saddle Californians with billions of dollars in higher car-care costs.
WHO: -- Rosemary Shahan, president, Consumers for Auto Reliability & Safety (CARS); -- Howard Owens, executive director, Consumer Federation of California; -- Jim O'Neill, owner, Chino Auto Tech, Automotive Service Council board member; -- Beverly McKissick, concerned consumer/retired financial- services rep, thrift-store owner; -- Robert Jauregui/Sergio Espinoza, auto-parts store employees (Spanish-language representatives); -- Car owners, activists, owners and employees of independent automotive repair and parts businesses. WHAT: The consumer activists have chosen the high-profile L.A. Auto Show -- where carmakers will showcase their newest products -- to call attention to anti-consumer practices that allow carmakers to "lock out" independent repair shops and parts makers from high-tech vehicle on-board diagnostic systems on late-model vehicles. This "lockout" threatens to put thousands of independent automotive repair shops and parts distributors out of business, as consumers seeking emissions-related repairs are forced to go to new-car dealers, where only costly carmaker-produced parts are used. The demonstrators are also blanketing Auto Show attendees with fliers asking them to call their state legislators and urge them to vote yes on SB 1146 -- the Consumer Choice Bill -- which will reform the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) regulations and put California consumers, not carmakers, back in the driver's seat of their own cars. The fliers will also include the California Lemon Index for car buyers. Great visuals will dramatize the need for reform legislation, including: -- A late-model car "in chains" in front of the convention center; -- Tow trucks, lights flashing, pulling disabled late-model cars around the area; -- A crowd of activists, car owners and workers whose livelihoods are at risk. WHEN: Monday, Jan. 10 11:30 a.m. WHERE: Los Angeles Convention Center, east sidewalk 1201 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles