Free Access Articles, Regulations , ,

VICTORIAN Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) executive director, Geoff Gwilym, says that the fight for access to service and repair data from the car manufacturers has been inaccurately described as a battle between franchised dealers and independent repairers.

Speaking to GoAutoNews Premium at the recent VACC Industry Awards and Centenary Gala dinner, Mr Gwilym said: “When we have an argument around access to repair information, it sounds like an argument only with independent repairers.

“But lots of dealerships repair other brand vehicles alongside the brand they represent,” he said.

“I have been in dealerships that do four, five, six or seven different brands and they need the same data as the independent mechanic.

“So whilst it sometimes looks like a divisive argument between independent repairers and dealerships, I do not see it that way. I think this is an industry-wide issue and dealerships need access to repair information as well.

“Lots of dealerships have worked very well over the years with independent repairers and there is a symbiotic relationship. They work together and they both need the data to repair the vehicle.

“Often franchise (dealers) have an overflow of work, or they have technical problems they can’t solve on cars or they have cars that aren’t part of their brand.

“That’s when they work with independent repairers to get jobs done. That is part of the food chain and it has been there for a long time. It is not an argument about pitting independent repairers against dealerships. They work together now.”

Mr Gwilym said 1060 VACC members and their partners attended the VACC Industry Awards and Centenary Gala. This year the chamber is celebrating 100 years of operation since it was created in Bendigo in 1918.

By Ian Porter