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ASA opposes Right to Repair legislation

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March 22, 2012—Two representatives of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) on Wednesday testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure during a hearing on proposed Right to Repair legislation.

The ASA said it opposes Right to Repair legislation. The organization is an advocate for developing a voluntary solution to industry issues of OEM service, tool and training information availability. Diane Larson, owner of Larson’s Service in Peabody, Mass., and one of the two individuals who testified on behalf of the ASA, said shops that are willing to invest in the proper tools, equipment and training have access to all of the information needed to repair vehicles without legislative mandates.

“While tools and information are accessible, it is important to note, however, that not every independent shop in Massachusetts today is qualified or fully prepared to service every make and model of vehicle. Each shop owner must make a business decision as to the investment he or she makes in the required tools and technician training to repair each brand,” Larson said. “As you can imagine, a Ford is different than a Chevy, which is different than a Toyota, which is different than a Mercedes. All cars are different in price, in look, in design, in performance, and in diagnostics and repair. There can be no single silver bullet to fix every car as proponents seem to suggest.”

Larson said the proposed concept of adopting a non-proprietary universal diagnostic interface for accessing diagnostic and repair information over the Internet is a good idea. It could potentially provide added convenience for most technicians, but the ballot initiative as it is written is the wrong way to go about it.

“The initiative language—which cannot be changed at this point—limits the use of only the SAE J2534 standard forever and ever. These protocols were developed more than 15 years ago and may or may not be the future of advanced diagnostics,” Larson said. “Why not allow for the innovation of better systems in the future? The ballot language freezes old technology with no allowance for future advancements. If the concept of a non-proprietary interface is a good one, why not allow any future SAE, ISO or other globally recognized standards that automakers develop?”

To view testimony from the hearing on Massachusetts’ proposed Right to Repair legislation, visit ASA’s legislative website TakingTheHill.com.

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