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Ohio lawmakers consider legislation for auto dealers it says could weaken repair shops

Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 23:00

The Automotive Service Association-Ohio (ASA-Ohio) and its government affairs representatives at Governmental Policy Group, Inc. have been closely lobbying two companion bills pending in the Ohio Legislature that could negatively impact members of ASA-Ohio and all independent repair facilities across the state.

House Bill 364 (Rep. Lundy, D-Lorain), and Senate Bill 204 (Sen. Wagoner, R-Toledo), were proposed as a result of a task force formed by Gov. Ted Strickland. The companion bills were designed to be Ohio’s version of a nationwide push by the automotive dealers to strengthen and protect auto franchise laws in the wake of forced dealership closings by General Motors Co. and Chrysler LLC, according to ASA-Ohio.

However, provisions in these franchise agreement measures go way too far in creating a monopoly for the auto dealers and would severely limit options when it comes to repairing vehicles for Ohio’s consumers.

The provisions in both measures impose restrictions on the sales and distribution of auto parts, which ASA-Ohio says it believes would ultimately limit consumer choice. The current restrictive language is as follows:

• Automakers shall not “provide reimbursement to any non-franchised individual or entity for labor and parts used to fulfill warranty and recall work.”
• Automakers shall not “directly sell, distribute or otherwise make available to any non-franchised individual or entity any original equipment manufacturer motor vehicle parts, accessories or other commodities that would otherwise be sold by a franchised dealer.”

While the primary intention of the legislation is aimed at protecting the auto dealer’s agreement with the auto manufactures, ASA-Ohio states that the provisions would severely restrict consumer choice.

“From the onset of these measures being introduced ASA-Ohio has worked diligently in expressing our deep concerns to the members of the General Assembly that these restrictive provisions will not only harm all of Ohio’s hard working independent repair facilities, but more importantly Ohio’s consumers will be severely limited on where they can take their vehicle for repair,” says Joe Sanfillipo III, President of ASA-Ohio.

Sanfillipo further states that ASA-Ohio and its board of directors have determined that if passed, these provisions would not only threaten to outlaw the sale of original equipment automotive parts to non-franchised automotive-related facilities, but could potentially put thousands of Ohio businesses and jobs in jeopardy.

ASA-Ohio reports that it is hopeful that a compromise can be reached that would remove both restrictive provisions from the legislation. By doing so it would ensure a continued open and competitive market, which would allow Ohio’s consumers the option on where they would like to receive their essential automotive needs.

For more information, contact Sanfillipo at ASA-Ohio at 513-263-2868.

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