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Data Access and Consumer Choice Highlight Congressional Visits this Week

Date: July 19, 2019

An organized effort to inform members of Congress on issues related to data access and consumers’ right to choose who repairs their vehicles and with what parts brought representatives from AASA and MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing to in Washington, D.C., this week.

“A government milestone of our generation will be protecting the freedoms that have allowed the aftermarket industry to serve consumers so well for the past century,” AASA President and COO Paul McCarthy tweeted from Capitol Hill. “Access to data matters; the aftermarket matters; suppliers matter. This is about maintaining free markets, consumers' choice and defending an industry that has created value for consumers for well over 100 years.”

Seven member companies met individually and in groups with more than 20 lawmakers to address concerns that limits on access to data collected by vehicles will curb consumers freedom of choice for service and parts for their motor vehicles. The message to legislators was focused: the repair industry, including aftermarket manufacturers, remanufacturers, and diagnostic test equipment companies, must have access to vehicle software necessary to repair vehicles on behalf of consumers. This will ensure continued convenience, affordability and a competitive market for vehicle servicing.

“This was a positive step in this on-going effort,” McCarthy said. “This issue is not going away. Our goal now is to educate legislators about the issue and encourage them to take action before consumers lose their options and face dramatically higher costs. For over a century, U.S. consumers have had the choice between OE service and independent repair shops that comprise approximately 70 percent of the service bay capacity. Vehicle owners need convenient, cost-effective solutions for maintenance and repair. MEMA and representatives from members companies will continue to encourage members of Congress to promote policies that allow access to vehicle data and software and support motorist freedom-of-choice and a competitive market for vehicle repair.”

The fly-in took place on July 17 and 18 immediately after the July 16 “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions,” held in Washington by the Federal Trade Commission.

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