Automakers and repair shops enhance consumer choice for service and repair.
Automakers have partnered with Canadian service and repair shops to enhance consumers’ ability to have their vehicles serviced in their local repair shops.
“We are pleased to enter into this voluntary national agreement with Canada’s automotive OEMs on behalf of Canada’s service and repair industry,” stated Dale Finch, National Automotive Trades Association’s Executive Vice President. “This agreement ensures that all auto manufacturers will provide access to service and repair information which will increase competition in the Canada’s service and repair industry to the benefit of Canadian consumers.”
The Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) will allow automotive repair facilities in Canada to access auto manufacturers’ service and repair information. Additionally, it will provide access to tooling and training information to local repair facilities across the country. CASIS ensures that all automakers will have the information made available no later than May 2010.
“CASIS is a great industry solution for a longstanding industry challenge,” stated David Adams, President of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada. “This Agreement will provide the flexibility needed to address concerns of local repair facilities and our customers given the increasingly complex nature of motor vehicles and rapidly changing vehicle technology.”
Mark Nantais, President of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association added, “After several months of cooperative dialogue between the service and repair industry and automakers, we are happy to be implementing CASIS. We are confident that consumers will be the big winners in this Agreement because Canadians will have more choice in where they take their vehicles for service and repair.”
For further information please contact:
Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada
Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association
Executive Vice President
National Automotive Trade Association
Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard Enhancing Consumer Choice: Background and Key Information.
- Almost 50% of Canadian automakers currently voluntarily provide service and repair information to independent repair shops today without a legislated requirement.
- Today over 65% of all vehicle service and repair is through independent repair shops.
- In response to the Industry Minister Clement’s request for a voluntary solution, Canada’s automotive OEMs worked cooperatively with independent vehicle repair shops to develop a voluntary solution to provide access to emissions and non-emissions-related service information, diagnostic tools, and training information needed to service Canadian’s vehicles.
- Prior to the Minister’s request, a voluntary agreement was not thought possible due to legal concerns under Canada’s Competition Act.
- The auto industry cemented its intent to create a voluntary agreement by the end of September 2009 with the Minister of Industry and Members of Parliament in a Letter of Intent signed May 1, 2009.
- The National Automotive Trades Association (NATA) representing Canada’s service and repair industry partnered with the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAMC) and the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) representing the automotive OEMs operating in Canada to develop the voluntary agreement.
- Automakers operating in Canada today have committed to CASIS, and provisions have been established to cover any new entrants in the future.
- All Canadian vehicle service and repair businesses will have access to the information provided under CASIS regardless of association or affiliation.
- CASIS mirrors a similar voluntary agreement in the United States which has the support of automakers, independent repair shops as well as the U.S. Congress.
- CASIS will be flexible enough to quickly address changing vehicle technology and market circumstances, in a manner not possible under legislation.
- CASIS creates a level playing field where automotive OEMs will provide service and repair information on a consistant basis in Canada.
- By May 2010 at the latest CASIS will be fully implemented in Canada by automotive OEMs.
- The service and repair information made available under CASIS will be available to all local and independent repair shops across Canada, regardless of their association or affiliation.
- CASIS will enhance consumer choice for automotive service and repair across Canada.
Legislation Not Necessary
- Given the commitment from industry and the scope of the voluntary agreement, legislation is not necessary to ensure that all manufacturers offer the requested information. Canada’s auto industry has a history of pragmatism in meeting regulatory objectives on a variety of policy objectives, including safety and the environment through voluntary initiatives.
Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard Enhancing Consumer Choice: Questions and Answers.
1. Who has signed this agreement?
The National Automotive Trades Association (NATA) on behalf of 5,000 individual automotive repair and service providers’ facilities from across Canada.
The Association of International Automobile Manufactures of Canada (AIAMC) on behalf of the international manufacturers, importers and distributors operating in Canada.
The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) on behalf of the North American manufacturers, importers and distributors operating in Canada.
AIAMC and CVMA members combined represent about 99.9% of all vehicles sold in Canada annually and all of their members have signed letters of commitment to CASIS.
2. Why this agreement and why now?
There was difficulty accessing service and repair information and tools from some manufacturers. The issue of access to service and repair information, training information and equipment by the automotive aftermarket has been around for a number of years.
The reality is many manufacturers and 3rd party providers were already voluntarily providing access without any agreement or legislation and there was no impetus for those companies that were not making the information available to do so. Most importantly, the Competition Act had historically prevented manufacturers from discussing competitive business programs as a means of addressing the situation. While Bill C-273 represented a flawed solution to this issue, that Legislation and Industry Minister Clement’s request for the industry to develop a voluntary agreement were really the catalysts for us to do just that.
The important thing is that this voluntary agreement applies to all manufacturers and all service and repair providers and it will enhance consumer choice for vehicle service and repair in Canada.
3. How will this agreement help Canadian consumers?
The agreement ensures that any shop that wants to make the investment in service and repair information, training information, tooling and equipment information for any make of vehicle it may wish to service, will be able to do so. As a result, consumers will have broader availability of facilities – either authorized OEM dealerships or independent shops – in which to have their non-warranty vehicle service work conducted.
4. Will a Canadian consumer be able to go anywhere to have their vehicle serviced?
Warranty related service work must continue to be conducted through an OEM authorized new vehicle dealer. However, if the repair is of a very general nature, consumers will have more choice in where their vehicles are serviced. Today, vehicles are so complex it is becoming more difficult to diagnosis and repair a vehicle, and a service facility will need to have the proper information, equipment, training, etc. to service and repair a particular make of vehicle. The important thing is that independent service and repair shops now have access to that information and can purchase it depending on their business needs, similar to OEMs authorized dealers and those independent shops operating in the U.S.
5. How do the dealers feel about this agreement?
We encourage you to contact the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association directly for their views, but the CADA is on record as supporting a voluntary solution such as we have developed under CASIS and opposed to any legislated solution.
6. How soon will the service and repair information be available to the aftermarket?
CASIS stipulates that the information will be made available from all manufacturers, importers and distributors no later than May 2010. This timeframe is necessary to allow for the development of the technical information for the Canadian market and other Canadian legal and business considerations.
On an ongoing basis, the service and repair information that has been agreed to be shared under CASIS will be available to the aftermarket at the same time that it is made available by the manufacturers to their respective dealer bodies.
7. How much will manufacturers charge independent service and repair facilities for the information?
CASIS contains provisions around the factors that will be considered as part of “commercially reasonable” pricing. For Competition Act reasons, CASIS cannot address specific pricing levels and as such, these will vary from manufacturer-to-manufacturer and will depend on the specific information being requested by the independent service and repair shops. It is expected that pricing for information provided under CASIS will not be appreciably different than what is charged to OEMs authorized dealers.
8. Is CASIS involvement a requirement for auto manufacturers or is legislation necessary?
The key here is that this is a voluntary process that affords the parties the opportunity to address issues and concerns as they arise in a straightforward, fast, efficient and cost-effective manner. We do not see the need for any legislative backstop. Moreover, many manufacturers are not prepared to manage this issue on a voluntary basis, through CASIS, and through an overriding legislative framework. This approach would only add unnecessary cost and complexity.
Automotive OEMs representing over 99.9% of all vehicle sales in Canada have voluntarily committed to this agreement in good faith and intend on remaining compliant with CASIS. While OEMs have the have the right to opt out should unforeseen circumstances cause them to decide to do so, the likelihood of any company pulling out of the agreement is negligible given that the auto OEMs will have spent months developing and implementing this voluntary agreement. Previous experience with similar voluntary agreements has shown that the OEMs who have signed on to the terms and conditions of the voluntary agreement have remained compliant participants.
With respect to any potential new entrants into the Canadian vehicle market, and similar to all existing market participants, these OEMs would be joining one of the vehicle manufacturers’ associations which would compel the company to adopt the provisions of CASIS.
9. Some claim that there are deficiencies with a voluntary agreement and that legislation is still required.
NATA’s membership consists of over 5,000 independent service and repair shops from across Canada. Their input and direction was critical to the development of CASIS and the business interests of the 5,000 independent shops are typical of all shops regardless of their association or affiliation. We are confident that the issues related to the provision of repair and service information, training information and equipment provision have been sufficiently covered by CASIS and that Canadian consumers will gain enhanced choice in automotive service and repair as a result.
10. Is legislation still required?
No. CASIS is superior to legislation because it meets the needs of industry, government and Canadian consumers. Similar to the complementary voluntary solution in the U.S., we are confident that CASIS will gain broad support of the automotive aftermarket service and repair industry, as well as legislators, and that they will find the current proposed legislation, Bill C-273 is unnecessary.
Canada’s auto industry has a long and successful history of developing and signing voluntary agreements with all levels of government as well as others in the private sector on a variety of issues including several safety and environmental standards that have preceded or taken the place of legislation.
One of the great benefits of a voluntary process is that it is quickly adaptable to changing realities in technology and market circumstances when necessary and we can address outstanding issues in a cooperative, collaborative fashion.