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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 
       -- 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,
       -- A late-model car "in chains" in front of the convention
       -- 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