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Right to Repair campaign to meet with manufacturers

The local Right to Repair campaign organisers, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), will be holding formal meetings with the vehicle manufacturers and distributors this month.
Right to Repair campaign to meet with manufacturers
© lindasj2 – 123RF.com
A conference on this subject took place at the recent Automechanika Johannesburg trade fair for the automotive after-market. Speakers included two Right to Repair champions from Europe, being Neil Pattemore, the technical advisor to both the FIGIEFA (Association of European parts distributors) and the European Garage Equipment Association (EGEA), and Hartmut Röhl, the FIGIEFA president.

The reason for this campaign is that motor vehicles have become more and more like 'computers on wheels'. While technological innovations provide better emissions control, greater safety and more comfort, they have made it increasingly challenging to service or repair a vehicle should the repairer not have access to the necessary information.

Without full and fair access from the OEMs to technical information, multi-brand diagnostic tools and test equipment, as well as replacement parts and training, the independent automotive after-market will no longer be able to provide South African motorists with the quality service and parts they deserve in the after-market care of their vehicles.

Safety of vehicles


"This may have a direct impact on the safety of vehicles and consequently other road users travelling on South African roads," said Vishal Premlall, director of MIWA.

This is a very real challenge. Unlike the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (EC) 1400/2002 currently in place in Europe to protect competition and consumer choice in the parts and repair sector, South Africa is way behind its European and North American counterparts. The Euro 5 Regulation, which came into force in September 2009, covers access to all technical information for newly type approved vehicles.

"This event at Automechanika Johannesburg has been ground-breaking," said Premlall. "We have brought vital role players together and tackled sensitive and burning issues around the campaign. Both Neil and Hartmut have been championing the Right to Repair cause in Europe with great success. It was exciting to hear about Europe's automotive after-market structure, and the work that FIGIEFA is doing in Brussels."

Technical innovation


Pattemore also addressed the game changing challenge created by technical innovation and the control of in-vehicle data for the after-market. This included an overview of the latest legal developments in European legislation on e-Call and telematics, including access for independent market operators to connected vehicles. He also looked at the implications of telematics for free consumer choice and their impact on a competitive automotive after-market value chain.

"We believe that both the lack of access to information and the stringent framework surrounding warranty, maintenance and service plans, minimises, if not destroys, the consumers right to choose and places OEMs and their franchise dealers with exclusive control of that segment of the market. This imbalance needs to be addressed in South Africa as it has in other parts of the world, and we will continue to champion the cause until the change is made," concluded Premlall.

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