Bill Hanvey: Now Is the Time to Support Right to Repair

Bill Hanvey: Now’s the Time to Support Right to Repair

Hanvey details how "you and your company can take part in the most important battle our industry has ever faced."

In the July 2023 issue of AMN/Counterman, we gave leaders from the major distribution groups and trade associations an opportunity to reflect on the most critical issues affecting the automotive aftermarket. For the second year in a row, we let distribution leaders “riff” on these topics in their own words.

Here’s what Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, had to say about the ongoing battle to pass Right-to-Repair legislation – in Massachusetts and at the national level.

“A rising tide lifts all boats” is a quote commonly attributed to President John F. Kennedy to suggest that investing in economic development can benefit everyone who participates in the economy. The same sentiment is true for the more than $400 billion auto care industry, as evidenced by our recent joint channel forecast that showed our industry outperforming our expectations in 2022.

That’s how we roll: Collaboration is critical between supplier, distributor and end user to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of our industry from the top of the supply chain down to the consumer.

It’s easy to get comfortable when the numbers are this good and it’s hard to keep up with demand … everything appears to be firing on all cylinders (of course, an automotive analogy). While it’s important to celebrate our success, it’s also critical for all of us to be engaged to thwart the biggest threat to our industry since its inception. 

On June 12, a representative from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) penned a letter to the attorneys representing the automakers instructing them to ignore the Massachusetts Data Access Law (Right to Repair Act) that was approved by 75% of the voters because they interpreted it to be federally pre-empted by the national Safety Act. This letter came two years after the federal court in Massachusetts asked NHTSA to comment on the trial – which they opted not to do. 

This is a now a rallying cry for all of us, and I’m afraid that unless we activate our entire industry around this issue, we all will lose … especially the consumer. Shop owners and DIYers are already experiencing instances where data is not made available by the automakers, and this will continually escalate should we not pass Right to Repair at the national level.

The phrase “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country” was actually first used as a typing drill in the mid 19th century – not shouted in the House of Burgesses by Patrick Henry as is commonly believed. We now have a new rallying cry of, “Now is the time for all men and women to defend the auto care industry and consumer choice,” which is critical to our long-term viability as an industry.   

Here’s how you and your company can take part in the most important battle our industry has ever faced:

  • Scan the QR Code below to send an automatic letter to your local congressperson telling them to support the REPAIR Act.
  • Download the Right-to-Repair promotional materials at autocare.org/r2rtoolkit to conduct a unified company awareness campaign on Right to Repair. Our toolkit has everything you need to educate employees and customers about the necessity of Right to Repair.
  • Host your congressperson at your place of business. We have a complete program that handles the contacts, the logistics and the talking points. It’s easier than you think, and any politician is always looking for a photo op with their local business constituents. Here’s a link to our Advocacy 101 toolkit to learn how to get started.
  • I saved the most important for last: Attend the Auto Care Association’s legislative summit on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. Join us and hundreds of your industry colleagues in Washington as we arrange meetings between you and your local congressional representatives so they can hear directly from you about our industry’s need to access vehicle data.

Meeting with an elected official is nothing more than a sales call, and guess what? You are the customer! The loudest voice in Washington is that of the taxpayer/voter – and we provide the talking points, the meeting schedule and a thoroughly American day participating in the political process. This is a day you will bring home to your family and friends, and I promise you: You will not regret it. 

Take a look back at highlights from our last legislative summit in 2019 in this video and stay tuned throughout the year for additional details.  

Thanks to all of you for engaging in the protection of our industry’s future!   

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