Treading into new territory, dealers are starting to embrace the benefits of the relatively new Right to Repair Guidelines for Competition in the SA Automotive Aftermarket. “Being able to service any car brand is a significant benefit and we are glad to see dealers beginning to embrace this aspect of the Guidelines,” says Right to Repair South Africa’s CEO, Kate Elliott.
Historically dealers specialised in a particular brand and only serviced that brand. This is changing since the coming into effect of the Guidelines in July 2021. The Guidelines stipulate that all service providers are entitled to be provided with the technical information they require in order to work on vehicles brought to them by customers. This includes access to service books (stored electronically or in the cloud); technical repair and service information; diagnostic codes; training; operational software and data record information. What this means is that along with independent service providers, dealers also have access to the information and training to be able to service any brand of vehicle.
Kate Elliott, CEO of Right to Repair SA, says the organisation is highly supportive of dealers that are expanding their operations to include other brands. “This is a breakthrough in the industry and offers consumers more choice. A Honda dealer, for example, is now no longer limited to only servicing Hondas. The dealer can service a Toyota or BMW. There is no limit.”
She adds that more and more dealers are seeing this opportunity and expanding their expertise and offering to customers. “What’s most important is service excellence. Qualified mechanics with good workshops and access to technical information can service any vehicle. It is not necessary to specialise. This applies to dealers as much as it does to independent workshops,” she says.
Giving consumers more choice is what the Guidelines set out to do. Elliott reminds consumers that non-compliance with any section of the Guidelines can be reported directly to the Competition Commission. “Consumers are also welcome to contact Right to Repair for assistance. The complaints procedure is also clearly outlined on the Right to Repair’s website. The process is quick, straight forward, and free,” she concludes.