The Road Ahead : February March 2015
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 14 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2015 fast lane for repair info STORY DEB ECCLESTON THE RECENT SIGNING of the Right to Repair Heads of Agreement has opened the floodgates on the vehicle repair and service information available to all automotive businesses, large and small. What that means for consumers is freedom of choice when selecting a vehicle repairer. Previously, motor vehicle manufacturers were not obliged to share diagnostic information pertaining to certain makes and models. But the agreement will ensure this information can be accessed by independent repairers. RACQ Executive Manager Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said as technology in cars had developed, workshop manuals had transitioned from paper-based to online, where they were 'protected' by secure login. This meant only dealership workshops were privy to the information, which couldn't be accessed by independent repairers. "An independent repairer doesn't have that access because it's not something manufacturers give out beyond their dealership network," Mr Spalding said. "Currently independent repairers may be able to access some of it through third parties, but that's not always an efficient and reliable way, and not always complete information." The move by the FCAI to lift the restrictions on the flow of information to independent repairers would enable them to compete on a level playing field, should they choose to. The information provided by vehicle manufacturers would, however, come at a price, Mr Spalding said. "We're not expecting that information to be made available for free -- the manufacturer has invested time and cost in preparing it," Mr Spalding said. "What's likely to happen is some repairers will specialise or focus more on popular cars in order to be cost-effective." How the new agreement translates into practice may be unclear, but what is certain is consumers now have the freedom to choose a repairer knowing they have access to the necessary technical and diagnostic information. "Our view is that a car needs to be maintained in a safe, reliable and roadworthy condition, and to do that an owner should be able to choose the repairer, and the repairer should have access to the information they require to do the work," Mr Spalding said. "There are many benefits in having a vehicle repaired or serviced at a dealership, but if you choose to use an independent repairer, make sure they have staff who are trained properly, the right equipment and the right information, so they are competent and qualified to work on your car." NEWS | FEATURE A COMMITMENT BY THE FEDERAL CHAMBER OF AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES (FCAI) TO THE SHARING OF VEHICLE SERVICE AND REPAIR INFORMATION IS A WIN FOR INDEPENDENT REPAIRERS -- AND MOTORISTS.
April 1st 2015