Haynes, the world's foremost publisher of car manuals, is supporting the Right to Repair Campaign - created by the independent automotive aftermarket to combat potential changes in European legislation which could drive all repair work into the vehicle manufacturers' franchised dealerships.
J Haynes, managing director of Haynes Publishing, says: "If competition from independent garages is eliminated, franchised dealerships would have a monopoly and could charge car owners higher prices.”
"The Right to Repair Campaign wants renewal of the European legislation to prevent vehicle manufacturers and others from unfairly restricting access to the information and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair, re-program or install automotive replacement parts."
EU Block Exemption Regulations (BER) dating from 2002 and due to expire in 2010 allow independent garages access to vehicle manufacturers’ technical information needed for servicing or repairing a car - so consumers can choose where to have their cars serviced and not be tied to manufacturers' dealerships. If, as is possible, BER is not renewed, consumers would find only vehicle manufacturers’ franchised dealerships had guaranteed access to technical information.
Such a situation would put many independent garages out of business and result in less choice and higher prices for consumers - the hourly rate of independent garages is, on average, half that of franchised dealers (source - GIPA UK Ltd, Operation Rate Trends March 2007).
A website for the Right to Repair Campaign has been set up (www.r2rc.co.uk) and J Haynes is asking independent garages, all companies in the car repair business and car owners to support the initiative. Information on how to support the campaign is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
He says: "Consumer choice needs to be protected. People have the right to work on their own cars and Haynes Manuals are there to help them. Equally, they have the right to determine where they get their car serviced and repaired. Only by protecting these rights can we ensure competitiveness within the market to keep down the costs associated with running a vehicle.”