CAR Coalition Aims to Increase Consumer Choice

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July 7, 2020—The Consumer Access to Repair (CAR) Coalition formally launched recently by calling upon Congress to explore expanded consumer choice over their personal vehicle data.

The CAR Coalition's members say they're dedicated to aiding consumer choice, transparency, and affordability in the post collision repair market. Members of the CAR Coalition include: Allstate, the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA), Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) and the LKQ Corporation. 

"Our members believe that consumers should have the option of choosing where and with what parts they repair their vehicles," Justin Rzepka, the coalition's executive director, told FenderBender. "A lack of choice drives up costs and confuses customers." 

In a recent letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the coalition asked Congress to examine issues related to secure and transparent ways to expand consumer choice over vehicle data. The coalition is opposed to any federal preemption and instead asks Congress to protect consumer choices. 

"In stressful times, we are fighting for consumers' ability to save more and make the choices best for them and their families," Rzepka said. "We are actively working to develop legislation that could address some of the issues currently restricting consumer choice in the marketplace." 

The aforementioned letter from the coalition noted, in part: "Consumer choice/control and safety aren't, and should not, be considered mutually exclusive. By controlling access to their vehicle-generated data, consumers will be better positioned to protect their private information. Allowing an OEM exclusive control access and sharing of this data will inhibit consumer choice and allow it to potentially exploit the data for its own enrichment through targeted advertising, promoting their own products and services, or even selling it."

Members of the coalition recently argued to U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee leaders that OEMs' certified collision repair networks are monopolistic. 

The CAR Coalition noted that it's eager to work with Congress to hold a hearing on the issue, along with other matters related to consumer choice and access in the post-collision repair process. 

"We have received positive feedback so far" from Congress, Rzepka said. "Lawmakers understand the need to examine these issues and identify solutions for a fairer, more transparent post-collision marketplace." 

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