Mass. considers landmark auto-repair legislation

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statehouse domeap1 Mass. considers landmark auto repair legislation

Massachusetts would become the first state to approve the so-called auto right-to-repair law. The Senate recently passed it, and it’s pending in the House. Industry observers say passage of the bill in Massachusetts could drive similar legislative efforts in other states.

Car dealers and manufacturers, including Honda, have vigorously opposed the right-to-repair bill on the federal level and in other states, such as New Jersey and Arizona. They say the push for the bill isn’t about consumers but about auto parts.

A spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an association of 11 vehicle manufacturers including Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., said aftermarket parts companies are seeking information that would enable them to make inexpensive parts in foreign countries without incurring research and development costs.

“This is a thinly veiled attempt by parts manufacturers to lower the cost of remanufacturing original equipment of manufacturer parts,” alliance spokesman Charles Territo said. “Once this information is released, that intellectual property will be in China by the end of the month.”

But supporters of the bill say it’s about giving consumers choices.

“Consumers pay a lot of money for cars, and they should be able to choose where they can get them repaired,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition, which represents more than 1,000 Massachusetts mechanics supporting the legislation.

Midsize and large repair shops also have said they would benefit from a right-to-repair law.

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