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Vast majority of car owners would back law barring automakers from blocking access to vehicle data

CAR Coalition poll finds that consumers prefer using independent repair shops over automaker-affiliated dealerships by 2-to-1; read more key findings

Washington D.C.—The CAR Coalition, a growing group of independent automotive parts, management and repair companies, associations, and insurers committed to preserving consumer choice and affordable vehicle repair, has released findings of a national poll focused on consumer choices in auto repair.

According to the poll, 79 percent of consumers believe that automakers should be prevented by law from restricting access to vehicle data.

“Consumers get it. They understand that their vehicle data belongs to them, not auto manufacturers,” Justin Rzepka, CAR Coalition executive director. “The CAR Coalition is committed to working with policymakers to ensure consumers’ rights are protected and they have options when it comes to their vehicle repair.”

YouGov surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults who own a car model year 2000 or newer over the period of March 22-24, 2021.

Key poll findings include:

Where to Repair

Q: Thinking about your car, if your vehicle were in a crash, would you take it to an automaker-affiliated dealership or an independent repair shop to fix the damage?

▪ Automaker-affiliated dealership: 27%
▪ Independent repair shop: 54%
▪ Not sure: 19%

Takeaway: Consumers prefer using independent repair shops over automaker-affiliated dealerships by 2-to-1.

Q: What is the main reason would you take your car to an independent repair shop to repair the damage?

▪ I think the independent repair shop would provide better service: 25%
▪ I think the independent repair shop would be less expensive: 55%
▪ The independent repair shop is more convenient: 14%
▪ Other: 6%

Takeaway: Consumers know independent repair shops offer great value.

I should have the right to choose where and by whom my vehicle is repaired.

▪ Strongly agree: 80%
▪ Somewhat agree: 13%
▪ Somewhat disagree: 2%
▪ Strongly disagree: 1%

Takeaway: Nearly all (93%) consumers want the right to choose how and where their cars are repaired.


Cost to Repair

Q: Which of the following has more expensive collision repair parts:

▪  Automakers: 70%
▪  Independent parts-makers: 5%
▪  They are about the same: 13%
▪  Not sure: 12%

Takeaway: Most consumers believe automakers’ parts are more expensive than others.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for vehicle repairs rose 61% between 2000 and 2017. Do you think this increase was caused by … (Check all that apply)

▪  Automakers restricting access to vehicle data? 44%
▪  Automakers raising their prices? 73%
▪  Independent parts-makers raising their prices? 34%
▪  Independent repair shops raising their prices? 28%
▪  Other: 11%

Takeaway: Most consumers believe automakers largely bear the blame for the rising cost of vehicle repairs.


Vehicle Data

Q: Modern vehicles have sophisticated computers that operate the car and collect data as you drive, such as your speed, breaking patterns, engine performance, navigation, and entertainment choices. How aware are you that cars collect this kind of information?

▪ Very aware: 47%
▪ Somewhat aware: 41%
▪ Not aware: 12%

Takeaway: Consumers understand how complex their vehicles are.

Q: Which of the following do you believe should have access to the data collected by your car? (Check all that apply)

▪  The car owner: 79%
▪  The automaker: 27%
▪  Any repair company you hire to repair your car: 35%
▪  None of the above: 10%

Takeaway: Consumers strongly believe they have the right to have access to their vehicle data.

Q: Some automakers block independent repair shops from accessing the data that the car collects, which prevents them from repairing the car. Do you approve or disapprove of this practice?

▪  Strongly approve: 7%
▪  Somewhat approve: 8%
▪  Somewhat disapprove: 19%
▪  Strongly disapprove: 55%
▪  Not sure: 10%

Takeaway: A strong majority (74%) of consumers believe it is wrong for automakers to block access to their vehicle data.

Automakers should be prevented by law from restricting access to my vehicle’s data. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

▪  Strongly agree: 55%
▪  Somewhat agree: 24%
▪  Somewhat disagree: 9%
▪  Strongly disagree: 3%

Takeaway: A strong majority (79%) of consumers approve of laws preventing automakers from blocking access to their vehicle.

Automakers block access to the data collected by vehicles so they can earn more money. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

▪  Strongly agree: 45%
▪  Somewhat agree: 30%
▪  Somewhat disagree: 7%
▪  Strongly disagree: 5%
▪  Not sure: 13%

Takeaway: A strong majority (75%) of consumers believe automakers block access to vehicle data to make more money.

Q: Would you be willing to ask your member of Congress to pass a law giving vehicle owners the ability to choose who has access to their vehicle data? (Asked of respondents who support laws preventing automakers from blocking access to their vehicle.)

▪  Yes: 85%
▪  No: 15%

Takeaway: Consumers are willing to fight for their right for their right to control their vehicle data.

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