JULY 2016


While the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) continues to fight against the hold South African dealerships have over warranties and repairs, MIWA Director Vishal Premlall wants to reiterate to motorists that this certainly isn’t the norm. “In fact,” he says, “in Europe and other parts of the world you can have your car repaired at an independent workshop and still bill the dealership. It’s called Right to Repair and this is what MIWA wants legislated in South Africa.”

According to MIWA, the Right to Repair initiative has come to the fore in many countries over the past 15 years. In America it has been supported by legislation, such as the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments which required all vehicles built after 1994 to include on-board computer systems to monitor vehicle emissions. The Act further requires car manufacturers to provide independent workshops the same emissions service information as provided to franchised dealerships.

“Technology used in cars today effectively makes it impossible for consumers to service or maintain their own vehicles. Virtually every component of a new car is controlled by a computer – this includes brakes, steering, air bags, fuel injection, etc. Without access to the car’s ‘brain’, so to say, owners and independent workshops can’t accurately diagnose problems or safely install parts that are compatible.”

Premlall says what this leaves the new-car consumer with is … no choice:

No choice: As to which workshop has the most competitive prices.

No choice: As to which workshop is closest and most convenient.

No choice: But to take the car to a dealership for maintenance and repairs.

No choice: But to pay the prices the dealership charges for labour and parts.

But, did you know that in Europe:

  • While under warranty, your car can be serviced by your local independent workshop.
  • A luxury brand dealership can service any other make of vehicle.
  • Replacing brake pads yourself or at an independent workshop doesn’t influence the warranty on your engine. In South Africa it does.
  • A service plan is not automatically included in the price of the car – you have a choice at point of sale.
  • Your maintenance costs are built into the sale price of the car.

And, in Dubai …

  • While under warranty, as long as you service your car at a reputable workshop the dealership has to pay.

Premlall says Right to Repair in no way infringes on manufacturing processes or trade secrets. “It doesn’t touch the manufacturer’s intellectual property at all.”

“The premise of Right to Repair is simple: Just as independent workshops feel they have the right to repair and should have access to the necessary information, consumers too should be able to choose whether they want their new or second hand car repaired at the dealer or at an accredited independent workshop. Right to Repair is a global issue and we strongly believe South Africa’s time has come,” he concludes.




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