House Small Business Committee Rebukes AAIA on 'Right to Repair'
At a September hearing of the House Small Business Committee, members of Congress and the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission strongly questioned the testimony of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and seemed unconvinced that the so-called "Right to Repair" legislation was necessary.
At a patent hearing this summer, AAIA's vice president of government affairs, said (as reported in IPFrontline): "With the cost of gasoline escalating at unprecedented rates, car owners still have access to the most affordable and convenient vehicle service industry in the world thanks largely to the fact that car owners have a choice as to where they have their vehicle repaired and with what parts. There are very few other products that boast such a strong market for the service of that product and many motorists take for granted the fact that they can take their car anywhere they want for service and purchase replacement parts that meets their price and quality needs."
Testimony by AAIA's vice president of government affairs caused some members, including Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., to question AAIA's reasons for supporting the legislation and ask, "Has AAIA or its distributor members filed complaints with the National Automotive Service Task Force?" William Kovacic, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, had already confirmed that they had received no vehicle service information complaints and stated that the FTC had encouraged such a voluntary industry solution as the NASTF. In response to a question from Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., Kovacic said: "The automotive sector today - compared with years past - offers better choices for the consumer for automotive repair."
Automakers, auto dealers and independent repairers have urged proponents of the so-called "Right to Repair" legislation to redirect their energies and resources to work within the cooperative framework of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF).
Historically, about 75 percent of post-warranty vehicle service and repairs are performed in non-dealer shops. The auto industry views these non-dealer shops as important players in providing service to their mutual customers, the driving public. Just as motor vehicles have become more complex, the servicing of them has also become a high-technology business requiring skilled, trained technicians and a sizeable investment in diagnostic and repair equipment.
Editor's Note: To read more about this topic, please click here to see the Legislative feature, "Congress Rejects 'Right to Repair' Before Going Home for Break."
ASA-Ohio's Training Day
ASA-Ohio held a training day Sept. 20 at Stark State College's Automotive Technology Center. The ASA affiliate held a variety of Automotive Management Institute (AMI) and I-CAR classes for members and nonmembers alike. Training day sponsors included AutoZone, BASF, Hertz and LKQ/Triplett.
Reminder of the Month
Voting Begins Jan. 2 for Board of Directors ElectionsFor the 2009 ASA board of director's elections, ASA members will have the opportunity to cast their votes for candidates either by telephone or on the Internet from Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2009.
Members can access the electronic ballots by calling a toll-free telephone number or logging on to a secured Web site. Once members have phoned in or entered the Web site, they will vote by entering their member number plus a three-digit security code number following the prompts. These numbers can be found on the mailing labels of the December 2008, January and February 2009 issues of AutoInc. The member number and security code are directly above the addressee's full name and enclosed by parentheses ( ). Example: (123456 789).
All regular members in good standing with ASA are eligible to cast their vote for the two positions of general director. More information will be provided as the election date draws near.
• ASA welcomes Clarence Mills, legislative analyst, who works with Bob Redding in ASA's legislative office in Washington, D.C. Mills contributes the content to AutoInc.'s monthly department, Taking the Hill, covering important legislative activity around the United States. Mills, who joined the ASA team in July, is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in art history.
• Todd Mehalko, ASA national recruiter; and Bill Haas, vice president, education and training; attended the ASA-Arizona Sunrise convention in Prescott, Ariz., in July. Haas presented two seminars and a keynote address. Mehalko also visited with members of the ASA-Nebraska affiliate at its September event.
• Bret Sullins, ASA national recruiter, recently visited the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas of Louisiana and Mississippi's Gulfport area. Sullins toured the area with Harry Williams and Charles Mack, territory managers for AutoZone. Welcome to the new members from that area who joined the association as a result of those visits.
• Members of the ASA staff have been volunteering their time to assist the Fort Worth, Texas, Tarrant Area Food Bank on behalf of Auto Mission, a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to changing lives through auto repair and the Christian gospel. Here, Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, helps sort food items after Hurricane Ike.
• ASA recently hosted a Service Information Workshop in Newark, Del. John Francis III, co-owner, Francis Automotive Services, West Chester, Pa., presented the workshop on behalf of the association. This is one in a series of workshops being presented around the United States to educate shop owners and technicians about the availability of service information to automotive repair shops. For more information, visit www.ASAshop.org/KEYS.
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