Just raise a fine point

The recent announcement by the Competition Commission that it would be investigating 82 car component manufacturers for collusion and price-fixing has sparked debate about South Africa's motor industry and its operations.

Les McMaster, chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (Miwa) says this is a good thing and he believes it will raise awareness around Miwa’s Right to Repair campaign.

The campaign allows consumers to select where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired at competitive prices in the workshop of their choice.

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Just as insurers are crying out for consumers to be able to fit certified alternative parts to contain the cost of vehicle repairs without fear of losing the warranty, so too are independent workshops wanting the opportunity to repair vehicles without the warranty threat.

“South African legislature needs to follow the international Right to Repair trend, which promotes South Africa’s existing consumer and competition laws.” says McMaster.

In some cases, campaigns in other countries have led to legislation that dictates original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have to provide the same information to independent aftermarket dealers that they provide to their franchise dealers.

Certain legislation also codifies the consumers’ right to choose preferred dealers without fear of losing their warranty.

“Access to information is increasingly important … not having access to certain information has allowed OEMs to monopolise the automotive industry by refusing to provide the requisite codes for security systems, diagnostic systems and telematics systems to independent aftermarket dealers,” says McMaster.

“Where codes aren’t available, independent dealers are precluded from repairing those vehicles. Lack of access to information and the stringent framework around warranty, maintenance and service plans give OEMs and franchise dealers exclusive control of that segment.”

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