Auto giants, repairers told to share information on car services



Car giants and independent repairers have agreed to create a voluntary code of conduct for access to technical detail to diagnose and repair modern cars.


Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said negotiations would be closely monitored and he threatened regulation unless "substantial progress" was made.


Mr Bradbury said motorists increasingly had to go to nearest dealerships, which could be hours away if they lived in regional areas.


"It is a source of great frustration for consumers when they take their car to an independent repairer only to find they cannot complete the service, not because they lack the skills or equipment, but because they cannot access the required data and technical information," Mr Bradbury said.


The Government would also co-ordinate a campaign through consumer affairs agencies to educate drivers about warranty rights.


"Any suggestion by car manufacturers that cars need to be serviced at a licensed dealer to maintain the owner's consumer guarantee rights is not correct," Mr Bradbury said.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries director of industry operations Tony McDonald denied independents were deliberately locked out, noting a federal inquiry had found no consumer detriment.


The voluntary code would help "better communicate information that is already available", he said.


Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association executive director Stuart Charity said some smaller repairers scrounged or paid hundreds of dollars to access fault codes, software downloads and technical manuals from specialist providers or overseas websites.


"With today's cars, even the most minor job such as wheel alignment and battery replacement requires access to company-controlled data," he explained.


Many motorists also felt obliged to take new cars to dealerships for servicing for warranty reasons.


"Consumers and small businesses are being screwed over," Mr Charity said.


Taken from 09/06/2013


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