Lowe referred to automakers today as “the entire gatekeeper for the vehicle” and said they’re making it more difficult to get access to on-board diagnostics, especially in newer vehicles, which is a concern for independent shops.
“We hope that the Massachusetts ballot initiative will be the beginning of a movement to ensure that vehicle owners have the ability to send their mechanical data to the shop of their choice, ensuring a competitive repair industry for consumers nationwide,” he said of the measure’s potential national implications.
Tommy Hickey, director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee, of which the Auto Care Association and O’Reilly Auto Parts are top donors, said it’s about maintaining “a level playing field.”
Critics, however, say the measure is a “data grab” by independent repair shops and big-box aftermarket parts stores and poses cybersecurity, personal safety and privacy risks to vehicle owners.
“A less-expansive version of the Massachusetts proposal failed in California because of concerns around privacy, safety and domestic violence. Those same issues — and many more — are at play in Massachusetts,” John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said in a statement to Automotive News. He deferred further comment to the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, a group funded by the alliance and many major U.S. automakers.