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  Chairman's Message

It Has Been My Pleasure to Serve as Chairman

Posted 4/14/2004
By Kevin Caldwell, Chairman

Kevin CaldwellTime flies when you're having fun! This month's message is the last time as chairman I'll have an opportunity to communicate with you through AutoInc. Later this month - at the ASA Annual Business Meeting in San Antonio, Texas - it will be an honor for me to transfer the chairman's gavel to Geralynn Kottschade, AAM. It's a true pleasure for me to pass the chairmanship to such a deserving industry leader. I have full confidence that Geralynn will continue to lead ASA into a strong and prosperous future. Under her leadership, ASA members are assured the utmost dedication in bettering our industry.

Throughout my previous 12 Chairman's Messages, I have touched on the accomplishments of your association, as well as what the future might hold for ASA members and ASA as an organization. But I would like to dedicate my last message to a lingering issue that not only affects us as members, but also has important ramifications for the entire automotive repair industry. The issue is information availability, and your association is responsible for ultimately changing the way we, automotive repair businesses, service today's complex vehicles.

ASA was instrumental in bringing automakers to the negotiating table in 2002. Through the encouragement of Congress, ASA found it better to convince the OEMs to release the same service information they provide dealerships rather than continuing to lobby for legislation. ASA saw the sluggish enforcement of legislation from the 1990 EPA Clean Air Act; an act that released emission service information to automotive repair shops. Do you realize that process only recently ended, taking nearly 13 years to implement? It's not in the best interest of the industry to go through that again.

Negotiating in good faith, ASA found a willing partner in the automakers. In a historic agreement, the OEMs agreed to share the service information that independent repair shops needed to stay in business. The overall process is working exceptionally well. The automakers' service information Web sites were launched ahead of schedule, information is continually being updated, and repair professionals like you and me have the information we need.

In recent months, ASA has come under fire for not supporting legislative efforts for H.R. 2735, The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act. However, the agreement we made does not constitute legislation and puts information in the hands of repair professionals today. If special interest groups continue to pursue legislation, it could prove to be detrimental to independent repair shops - members of the Automotive Service Association.

If you haven't already done so, I invite you to read the Guest Editorial by Mark Saxonburg of Toyota, presented in last month's issue of AutoInc. You can access the editorial through AutoInc. Online at www.autoinc.org. Also, be sure to read Donny Seyfer's editorial in this issue. He addresses the same issue from a peer perspective. Share these editorials with your colleagues, techs and shop managers. Share them with those who feel the historic agreement isn't enough and that legislation is the answer to service information availability. Together, we can benefit our industry.

It's been my pleasure serving as ASA chairman for the past year. I wish you all the very best.

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