Maryland Legislature Considers Legislation That Could Harm Lower Income Motorists, States Care

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee and the Maryland Senate Finance Committee are considering two, very similar bills that have the potential of harming lower income motorists" stated Sandy Bass-Cors, executive director, The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE).

"If passed, House Bill 574 and Senate Bill 487 would require motorists who need vehicle replacement parts to specifically sign for the use of aftermarket parts in their vehicles before accepting them.  This is unfair because these same vehicle owners do not have to sign for the more expensive car company-labeled parts.  In addition, this plants a seed of doubt in a consumer's mind that the aftermarket parts are somehow of inferior quality, frightening them into spending extra money that they may not have," stated Bass-Cors.

If approved, HB 574 requires the motorists' signatures for the first five years of a vehicle's life and SB 487 requires the motorists' signatures for the first three years of the vehicle's life.

"Many automotive replacement parts are manufactured by the same company; one part goes to the car company's dealer network, the other part goes to an auto parts retailer. On a national average, vehicle repairs cost 34 percent more at a franchise car dealer than at an independent repair shop because of increased competition and competitive pricing.

"Besides, more aftermarket parts come with life-time warranties which you will not always find with an original equipment (car company) part," continued Bass-Cors.

A January 2012, CONSUMER REPORTS poll found that approximately 40 percent of car owners postpone having major repairs or maintenance on their vehicles because they cannot afford it.  Among those surveyed, the types of non-warranty work most commonly postponed were manufacturer-recommended scheduled maintenance and service (22 percent), followed by 'wear' items, most commonly brakes (17 percent) and body or other exterior damage (15 percent).  The respondents stated a major repair bill that costs an average of $2,000 would become a financial burden.  In addition, according to a 2012 CarMD report, Maryland ranks the 12th highest for repairs out of the 50 states.

This legislation would harm the automotive aftermarket businesses in Maryland and put some of the approximately 33,000 aftermarket jobs in jeopardy.  The automotive aftermarket is approximately a six ($6) Billion dollar business in the state of Maryland.

"Passage of HB 574 and SB 487 will do nothing more than create a car company parts monopoly, to the detriment of small business and lower income motorists," concluded Bass-Cors.

The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) is a non-profit, national organization that represents companies in the automotive aftermarket throughout Maryland and the nation, among them: NAPA, AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Bridgestone-Firestone Retail Operations.

The national automotive aftermarket is a 100-year old industry that employs 33,000 people throughout Maryland in over 4,000 businesses and employs five million people nationwide in 500,000 aftermarket businesses.

SOURCE Coalition for Auto Repair Equality




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