The FCAI, in cooperation with AADA, now has a document which (for the most part) has the agreement of all parties following the latest meeting in Canberra.
A ‘Code of Practice’ being drafted by the Federal Chamber Of Automotive Industries (FCAI) regarding access to repair information has satisfied most of the concerns expressed by interested parties in a meeting held on May 27 in Canberra.
Automotive Dealer has been closely following the issue which has caused much disagreement between the AADA and other industry bodies such as the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).
While the AAAA, which represents parts manufacturers, has lobbied using their ‘right to repair’ campaign, AADA has expressed the view that the real issue is about access to data captured by on-board computers on modern cars. AADA maintains that the ownership of this data has nothing to do with repair information and is of no value to independent operators. Instead, it’s required for warranty and ongoing product improvement.
At the meeting in May, representatives from AADA, FCAI, Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi were in attendance.
There was universal acknowledgement by the parties that the FCAI Code had addressed most of the issues and that the intention of the Code is to work in the best interests of the consumer. The AADA policy committee chairman commented that Dealers could not handle the repair and maintenance of the whole Australian fleet and there will always be a place for professional and well-equipped independent repairers.
Amongst the discussions was an acknowledgement that repair information is available and will continue to be available, at a cost, through internet-based delivery. There was also talk about making Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) available. However, it was accepted that until finalised, TSBs are generally work-in-progress documents and cannot, for legal reasons, be made available until they become part of the official service manual.
The diversity of the Australian fleet was recognised by all as the major challenge for repair technicians. Regardless of whether the repairer is a Dealer or independent, such a varied fleet of cars on Australian roads makes repairing any make and model which turns up for the first time nearly impossible.
In terms of fitting non-genuine parts during serving and repairs, opinion remains divided.
While AADA and FCAI believe that the customer should be informed if non-genuine parts are being used, AAAA contend that it is not necessary because customers are protected by consumer legislation.
In previous issues, Automotive Dealer has reported the conflict that the VACC has experienced attempting to represent both Dealer and aftermarket industry members. This was further demonstrated in the May meeting where the VACC’s continued push for vehicle security information to be available for qualified independent technicians was clear. This conflicts with its representation of Dealer member interests.
Moving forward, members of the FCAI will adopt the Code as the FCAI Repair Information Industry Code.
It is expected that an ‘agreement document’ much the same as the FCAI code, will be signed by all parties including AADA, by mid-year.