Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:03

Bill Restricting Access to Parts and Repair Information Advances in CA Legislature

Despite strong lobbying and grassroots opposition from CAWA and other aftermarket organizations, SB 750 passes key committee. According to CAWA, consumers and the automotive aftermarket suffered at the hands of big car companies seeking a monopoly that will keep consumers and their repair professionals from having the information they need to repair their vehicles as SB 750 authored by Senator Hernandez and sponsored by BMW passed the Assembly Transportation Committee by a vote of 8 to 5. If ultimately passed and signed into law, SB 750 will exempt automakers from providing electronic key code information to locksmiths, requiring motorists to contact the automaker to get a replacement key for their vehicle. CAWA and aftermarket industry advocates have been battling this legislation for nearly a year and have argued their concerns about motorists being inconvenienced and often stranded in dangerous situations because they were not able to obtain a replacement key from a locksmith due to automakers refusal to provide this information. In addition, CAWA argued that this bill is anti-consumer and anti-competitive, and while this resonated with many legislators, it was not enough to convince them to vote against the measure.

“This is an unfortunate and untimely blow to both consumers and the aftermarket. The key is much more than the instrument that enables one to start their vehicle,” stated Steve Sharp, of WORLDPAC, CAWA Chair of the Board. “The key is coded with security information that is tied into the vehicles computer system and will disable a number of auto components including in some cases the transmission, making the vehicle immobile as well as preventing a vehicle from being started after certain major repairs.”

The aftermarket industry has developed a system for key coding and vehicle programming that the majority of vehicle manufacturers follow to ensure both the security of the vehicle as well as access to the independent repair industry. SB 750 will certainly interfere with the ability to have a vehicle serviced outside of the manufacturers’ network, and this in turn will create hardship for the consumer as well as create anti-competitive forces for the independent automotive repair industry.

CAWA asks supporters to contact their  legislative advocate, Norm Plotkin, for your immediate questions at norm@pzallc.com or 916-275-0796.