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Independent Repair Shops Not Confident Car Makers Will Share Service Information


Independent Survey Measures Information & Tool Availability

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 7 -- Seventy percent of independent repair shop owners, service advisors and technicians have no confidence that car companies will always provide access to the necessary information and tools for repair, according to a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. The study was commissioned by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) to assess the scope of the difficulties facing independent repair shops in obtaining service information and tools from vehicle manufacturers.

"Without a doubt, this independent survey demonstrates the extensive problems being encountered by independent repair shops that cannot obtain the tools and information they need to be competitive with new car dealers," said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA President and CEO. "Without the equitable access to repair information outlined in the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (HR 2048), more and more repair shops will be forced to turn away customers and consumers will have no choice but to go to the car dealer to get their cars serviced."

More than 1,000 repair shops were surveyed regarding their experience in obtaining service information and tools from the vehicle manufacturers. Some of the highlights of the study included:

  *  Independents found that either "much of the data" or "some of the data"
     was missing from information provided by car companies. Further, the
     majority of respondents stated that the manufacturers "never" or "only
     sometimes" provide all of the capabilities in their tools needed to
     complete repairs.

  *  The problem of missing data and tools is much more pronounced among the
     foreign name plate vehicles than the domestics.

  *  The top five areas listed as absent from car company supplied
     information were electric systems, driveability, engine control
     modules, anti-theft systems and emissions.

  *  Nearly one-half of respondents purchase repair information "as needed"
     and an equal number of respondents "never" purchase repair information
     from the car companies.

  *  Repair shops experience an average of 12 hours of lost work time or a
     5.6 percent loss in productivity per month because of a lack of service
     information and tools available to them.

  *  70 percent of the respondents have no confidence that car companies
     will always provide them with the necessary information and tools
     required for repair.

The survey demonstrates that the independent aftermarket is losing $5.8 billion in service and parts sales annually because they are unable to readily access the necessary repair information and tools from the car manufacturers to properly diagnose and repair vehicles, according to AAIA. The survey further discovered that independent repair shops turn away 1.2 million consumers each year because they do not have the information and tools to diagnose and repair their customer's vehicles, according to AAIA.

"This comprehensive look at the repair issue further shows that while car companies claim the problem is solved, the reality does not support their assertions," said Schmatz. "Passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act of 2005 (HR 2048) is the only way to provide a strong message for now and into the future that all information and tools must be made readily available to the independent aftermarket."

The "Right to Repair Act", which was introduced by Reps. Joe Barton, (R- TX), Edolphus Towns, (D-NY) and Darrel Issa (R-CA), would require the car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independents that they provide their franchised dealer networks. Architects of the "Right to Repair Act" added new language this year to clarify that car company trade secrets are protected unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealer. The new language also clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill's requirements.

For results of the study, visit AAIA's Web site at

For more information about the "Right to Repair Act" visit