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FCAI hits back at Federal Government’s plan for mandatory data sharing

The Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP recently announced the Government’s plan to introduce mandatory data sharing of repair and service information…The FCAI claims it’s unnecessary.

SPEAKING AT THE recent Autocare 2018 Convention, the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP said, “The Government is actively working on the design of a mandatory scheme for the sharing of critical repair and service information with consumers and their choice of repairer, ensuring competition and fairness for Australian consumers”.

The Government’s decision to develop a plan for the mandatory sharing of service and repair information between dealer-based workshops and independent service and repair outlets was prompted by a study commissioned by the ACCC.

“The ACCC, having done the market study, will not now vacate the field. We will continue to engage with stakeholders, including the AAAA, and we will provide advice to the Government to assist in the development of a mandatory scheme for you to get access to the technical information you need to fix cars, and to compete,” said ACCC boss, Rod Sims, who also spoke at Autocare 2018.

But, yesterday, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) hit back. FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber, said that with most of Australia’s 17 million cars being serviced by 23,000 independent service and repair centres there was no need for mandatory data sharing, because these independent repair outlets already get access to data for 85% of the market.

 “With 23,000 independent outlets already having access to information on 85 per cent of the market via the FCAI website and other sources, where is the market failure that we are trying to address?” Mr Weber queried.

“With independent repair operators already servicing a vast majority of the Australian car fleet, the sector is already accessing important information to enable it to carry out service activity. Otherwise, how are these vehicles currently being serviced?” Mr Weber said.

The big concern for the FCAI, or so it claims, is around security and safety information and that the independent repair and service industry will need to invest heavily to keep up to date with vehicles as they continue to become more complex.

“The Government needs to ask how much additional red tape is needed to address a perceived future problem. To mandate this process will require vast amounts of regulation and a new bureaucracy to police the system to ensure consumers are protected as vehicles become more and more complex,” Mr Weber said.

“Mandated access to complex automotive service and repair data must also bring with it the need for the independent sector to invest heavily in the appropriate levels of training and equipment.

“In addition to information, a mandated regime for repair businesses will need to ensure that all registered repairers can demonstrate that they have the correct tools, technical equipment, and training to service modern, high-tech cars. Each of these factors will require ongoing investment by the service provider to maintain standards and ensure community safety,” Mr Weber added.

Question: What do you think, should independent service and repair centres be able to access up-to-the-minute data on new cars? Does limiting access to this information restrict a customer’s choice on where they can take their vehicle for servicing?

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober