WORRYING: Forest Glen mechanic Frank Melendez has warned car owners of the high cost of repairs at franchised dealerships.
WORRYING: Forest Glen mechanic Frank Melendez has warned car owners of the high cost of repairs at franchised dealerships. Warren Lynam

Mechanics say restrictions will hurt the industry

PLACING restrictions on mechanics trying to repair a vehicle is how car companies are trying to "monopolise" the industry, a Sunshine Coast mechanic says.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has released its own code of practice which outlines how independent mechanics are required to contact car dealerships to access safety, security and environmental information about a car they are repairing.

But this has mechanics and motorist groups concerned.

Sunshine Coast mechanic Frank Melendez, proprietor of Car Konverters, said car manufacturers owned the brand, but not the servicing part of it. "At the end of the day, all cars are pretty much the same; they are all just a different computer system," he said.

Mr Melendez also said car dealers charged a higher price for an average service than independent mechanics, which made small businesses a threat.

"They're not making cars here in Australia any more, so they've got to say, 'Where is our profit margin coming from?'"

Australian Automobile Association chief executive Andrew McKellar said FCAI's code for restrictive access to a car's information was especially concerning for people in rural and regional areas, who would have to drive hours to a city, where they purchased the car, for servicing and repairs.

"The car brands have sought to protect their own interests and the interests of their franchised dealers by limiting access to a range of service and repair information," he said.

But FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said these regulations had been in place for a while.

The RACQ's technical and safety policy executive manager Steve Spalding said: "It's progressively getting more difficult for independent repairers to get the information they need."

What they say

Sunshine Coast mechanic: Restricting a mechanic's access to a car's information was a way to monopolise the market.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries: We've got exclusions around safety, security and the environment for good reasons.

RACQ: Mechanics have a right to carry out repairs. Motorists have a right to choose their mechanic.

AAA: The car brands are trying to protect their own interests. It's concerning for regional areas.



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