, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 20, 2012

Suddenly, battle lines drawn over auto repair question


The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, an original member of the Right to Repair Coalition, this week also endorsed the ballot question, expressing its opposition to the compromise law that the group said excluded motorcycles.

“We are now, and have always been a ‘Yes on Question 1’ committee,” said Art Kinsman, a spokesman for the Right to Repair Committee.

Kinsman said the announcement was an acknowledgment that the ballot question “is almost certainly going to pass.” He said coalition members are “still supporting” the ballot question.

“With the outcome of the question likely to be a yes vote from voters the real important thing now is to continue to work with manufacturers and the Legislature on reconciling the two proposals. That becomes the most important thing to think about and we are still committed to working with all parties on a good outcome,” Kinsman said.

Both the ballot question and the compromise law stipulate that repair information must be made available to independent repairers staring on Nov. 6 when the law takes effect. “That’s common to both proposals and to us that’s been the most important thing. We have time to reconcile the rest of it,” Kinsman said.

If the ballot question passes, some of the differences the Legislature will have to sift through include a provision in the compromise that gave auto manufacturers until model year 2018, instead of the ballot question’s 2015, to comply with standardized diagnostic tool requirements.

The Right to Repair Coalition also backed off language contained in the ballot question that requires dealers to forfeit their licenses to sell cars in Massachusetts if the parent manufactures violate the information sharing laws.

“Automakers applaud the fair and thoughtful way the Massachusetts Legislature addressed this difficult and complex issue. We continue to support the negotiated Right to Repair agreement that resulted and has since become law, a law that is in the best interests of Massachusetts voters, car owners and all parties involved,” said the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers in a statement.

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