The National Automotive Trades Association has announced that the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) has been implemented on schedule.
The CASIS agreement between the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC), the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA), and the National Automotive Trade Association (NATA) is designed to provide independent automotive service and repair providers access to emissions and non-emissions-related service information, diagnostic tools, and training information in a similar fashion to that offered in the United States through the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) agreement, and similar to that of manufacturers’ authorized dealers.
Success in forging the voluntary agreement led to the decision by many in the aftermarket and legislators to abandon Bill C-273, the “Right to Repair Bill,” earlier this year.
Prior to the signing of the CASIS agreement, only roughly 50% of Canada’s automotive manufacturers and distributors (by market share) provided the automotive aftermarket with this service and repair information. Since the signing of the CASIS agreement, several additional auto manufacturers began providing this information ahead of the May 1 deadline.
“There are people who don’t do high-tech repairs, because of the risk,” says Dale Finch, executive vice-president of NATA, so for those the impact may be small, at least initially. “But in small towns, where there may only be one or two independent service providers–and no dealers–they are going to have to find a way to repair these vehicles.”
In the beginning, says Finch, shops may gravitate towards using only the most economical tools for more high-tech repairs, but cautions that it is not a long-term option to entirely ignore the need to get onboard with manufacturer service information as the repair landscape changes.
“Mechanical shops need to analyze where they are,” in terms of readiness and in terms of their market, says Finch. “Then they can decide what they need, and whether they [will] go aftermarket or OE tools.” He says that they may have to get creative. He says several shops in Langley, B.C. coordinated their purchases so that each shop purchased an OE tool from one manufacturer, and share them with each other when needed.
Beyond tools though, Finch emphasizes the need for training. “They need to find the experts within their businesses, just like some of the car dealers. I ran a GM dealer service department with 25 techs; only three or four had the expertise to do the high-tech work.
“The aftermarket needs to get into the training mode, for this and to retain staff. If employees don’t see a training path, they’ll general-ly go somewhere where they can satisfy that need.”
Finch says that while vehicle manufacturers have entered into the agreement wholeheartedly, there is some concern that shops won’t take advantage of the resource.
“Our biggest challenge is to get the word out to the shops. And it’s important to jobbers that they know too. They have to be concerned about their future. Their survival depends on the word getting out.
“It’s all about getting the industry to work together. There are huge gaps in the OES network. The aftermarket has a huge opportunity, but they have to be educated. They have to get a plan together and they have to get going on it.”
For more information about the CASIS agreement, and for links to each auto manu-facturer’s technical information website, visit www.natacanada.ca. Click on CASIS (Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard) to go directly to the OEM service information links page.