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Lo­cal me­chan­ics back Right to Re­pair Cam­paign to get in­for­ma­tion on new ve­hi­cle parts

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

MORE me­chan­ics in Msun­duzi are sup­port­ing the Right to Re­pair Cam­paign that wants Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEM) to play fair when it comes to the re­pair of old cars.

This cam­paign, which was launched in SA in 2010, al­ready has a strong foothold in many world mar­kets, such as Europe, the U.S., Australia and Brazil.

Jens Denk of Denk’s Mo­tors said the OEMs cur­rently like to keep se­cret any tech­ni­cal de­tails to a ve­hi­cle.

“The OEMs rightly say they spent a lot of money on re­search and devel­op­ment to make a new car safe and sound.

“What we are say­ing is that when a per­son buys a car, the high price they pay cov­ers a per­cent­age of that R&D and the new owner must get ac­cess to a work­shop man­ual and a parts list so that they can en­sure their ve­hi­cles are safely main­tained at all times.

“Just imag­ine if the air­craft in­dus­try with­held ser­vic­ing man­u­als and parts de­tails on a plane like the OEMs are do­ing,” said Denk.

Striv­ing to get this in­for­ma­tion, the Mo­tor In­dus­try Work­shop As­so­ci­a­tion (Miwa) will in June hold for­mal meet­ings with the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­trib­u­tors, fol­low­ing a well-at­tended con­fer­ence at the re­cent Au­tomechanika Jo­han­nes­burg trade fair for the au­to­mo­tive af­ter­mar­ket.

Vishal Prem­lall, the direc­tor of Miwa said with­out full and fair ac­cess from the OEMs to tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion, multi­brand di­ag­nos­tic tools and test equip­ment, as well as re­place­ment parts and train­ing, the in­de­pen­dent au­to­mo­tive af­ter­mar­ket will no longer be able to pro­vide South African mo­torists with the qual­ity ser­vice and parts they de­serve in the af­ter­mar­ket care of their ve­hi­cles.

“This may have a di­rect im­pact on the safety of ve­hi­cles and con­se­quently other road users trav­el­ling on South African roads,” said Prem­lall.

The rea­son for this cam­paign is that mo­tor ve­hi­cles have be­come more and more like com­put­ers on wheels.

Prem­lall said the lack of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and the strin­gent frame­work sur­round­ing war­ranty, main­te­nance and ser­vice plans all but de­stroys con­sumers’s right to com­pe­ti­tion and gives OEMs and their fran­chise deal­ers ex­clu­sive con­trol over a mar­ket seg­ment.

“This im­bal­ance needs to be ad­dressed in South Africa as it has in other parts of the world, and we will con­tinue to cham­pion the cause un­til the change is made,” Prem­lalls said.

Prem­lall said South Africa is way be­hind Euro­pean coun­ter­parts, where the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Block Ex­emp­tion Reg­u­la­tion (EC) 1400/2002 en­sure con­sumer a choice when it comes to parts and re­pair sec­tor.

He said the Euro 5 Reg­u­la­tion, which came into force in Septem­ber 2009, cov­ers ac­cess to all tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion for newly type ap­proved ve­hi­cles.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

Ti­nos Man­donye’s aim to ser­vice a ve­hi­cle as cheaply as pos­si­ble for his clients is ham­pered by the Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ in­sis­tence that all in­for­ma­tion on parts are pro­pri­etal.

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