European Court Rules on Right to Repair

The European Court of Justice ruled that automakers must give companies that work on or with their vehicles access to the data those vehicles generate and allow access to those data systems.

In the U.S., consumer advocates launched a pressure campaign to get the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue Right-to-Repair regulations to allow consumer and non-OE affiliated companies to work on their vehicles and other things.

Right-to-Repair laws remain particularly important for the auto glass industry.

The European court case involves a lawsuit filed by A.T.U., a German car maintenance company, and Carglass Germany, a Belron-owned brand. The companies sued Fiat Chrysler in German court over the technology system that controls access to its vehicles’ data, arguing that the systems violate European rules.

On October 5, 2023, the European Court of Justice agreed with the companies, saying automakers’ cybersecurity obligation under a broad international regulation is not a reason to block suppliers from access to vehicle data.

The court decision comes after a years-long dispute between Belron, owner of Safelite, which operates in 37 countries, A.T.U. and Fiat Chrysler over whether the carmaker unfairly restricts access to vehicle data.

The repair company says it needs access to the data to repair or service vehicles with increasingly sophisticated technology such as Advance Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). About 30% of cars must have their ADAS recalibrated after windshield replacements.

“We are confident that vehicle manufacturers such as F.C.A. [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] can appropriately manage cybersecurity risks without needing to restrict access to vehicle systems/data unduly,” Belron CEO Carlos Brito said in a statement.

U.S. consumer advocates, such as the Public Interest Research Group, want the FTC. to:

• Develop, administer, and enforce a technical standard for scoring devices based on their repairability.

• Require manufacturers to provide a minimum standard of repair support, including publishing repair documentation and schematics and access to commonly-replaced spare parts.

• Protect repair choice by ensuring that consumers and independent businesses can provide repairs for modern electronics.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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