John Francis III of Francis Automotive in West Chester, Pa., testified for the Auto motive Service Association (ASA) emphasizing that automotive service information is already available to independent repairers and consumers. “At Francis Automotive, we use several third-party service information providers – ALLDATA, Identifix and an online service that includes technicians from all over the world, iATN – on a daily basis. As needed, our technicians will use automotive manufacturer websites. We have several aftermarket scan tools that we use and two auto manufacturer scan tools. Tools to perform reflashing are available for all makes of vehicles.
“It’s a business decision regarding which tools to purchase. We have made a business choice not to purchase equipment to reflash BMWs and Mercedes. It is not because the tools and information are not available – they are available. But for our business model, we have chosen not to purchase this equipment.”
Robert L. Redding Jr., ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative, submitted comments on the National Automotive Service Task Force’s (NASTF) role as “a voluntary industry organization, having served as a mechanism to share information and resolve issues that arise in the areas of service information, tools and training. In the United States, we have about 500 million post-warranty repair service orders each year.
Independent repair facilities repair approximately 75 percent of these cars. NASTF is designed to address gaps in information that may occur in the repair. ASA and other industry partners have spent a great deal of time and resources on marketing the NASTF to independent repairers, encouraging repairers to contact NASTF if they had difficulty obtaining repair information from their third-party information provider or from the automaker websites.
“In 2008, the total number of service information requests received by NASTF was 44. This is out of 500,000,000 post-warranty repairs nationwide. In 2009, we had a total number of 45 requests for information and 65 requests in 2010. NASTF had no requests from Pennsylvania repairers and technicians for service information in 2009, one request for information in 2010 and no requests so far in 2011 despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent marketing NASTF in the aftermarket, trade press articles and initiatives and promotions at industry events.”