A recent survey of more than 1,000 independent repair shop owners, service managers and service technicians reveals that $5.8 billion in service and parts sales is being lost annually because they are unable to readily access the necessary repair information and tools from car manufacturers to properly diagnose and repair vehicles, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, directly contradicts recent statements made by the Consumers Union through Consumer Reports that the service information issue has been solved. The survey also found that independent repair shops lose additional sales when forced to turn away 1.2 million consumers each year because they do not have the information and tools to diagnose and repair their customer’s vehicle. Also, 70 percent of survey respondents revealed that they have no confidence that vehicle manufacturers will always provide them with the necessary tools and information in the future, according to AAIA. “Without a doubt, this independent survey demonstrates the extensive problems being encountered by independent repair shops that cannot obtain the tools and information they need to be competitive with new car dealers,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA President and CEO. “Not only are the independents losing billions of dollars in business, too many consumers are being inconvenienced by being forced to take their vehicle to a dealership after being turned away by their first choice local repair shop.” “This comprehensive look at the repair issue further shows that while car companies claim the problem is solved, the reality does not support their assertions. Passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act of 2005 (HR 2048) is the only way to provide a strong message for now and into the future that all information and tools must be made readily available to the independent aftermarket,” said Schmatz. “Without the equitable access to repair information outlined in the ‘Right to Repair’ Act, more and more repair shops will be forced to turn away customers and consumers will have no choice but to go to the car dealer to get their cars serviced.” The “Right to Repair Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Joe Barton, (R- TX), Edolphus Towns, (D-NY) and Darrel Issa (R-CA), would require the car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independents that they provide their franchised dealer networks. Architects of the “Right to Repair Act” added new language this year to clarify that car company trade secrets are protected unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealer. The new language also clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s requirements.