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Car warranty rights clarified

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released documentation that clarifies how using independent workshops will not invalidate a car’s manufacturer warranty.

In order to help both private customers and businesses alike, the ACCC has published two documents.

The first, called ‘Just bought a new car?’, details the precise rights of the consumer. It clarifies, among other key points, how that using a preferred independent workshop for repairs and maintenance will not void the original warranty – provided the manufacturer’s standards are met.

The aim is to counter the long-standing public opinion that using a independent garage would void any official warranty, which reduces competition and can increase costs for customers.

In an effort to further alleviate this, the ACCC has also published an updated ‘Motor vehicle sales and repair’ guide. This document, which is for all businesses involved in the sale, production and maintenance of vehicles, provides information on how to identify and tackle small and major issues with vehicles – both new and used – and how warranty cases should be handled.

These new documents, which were produced in collaboration with the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, should reduce the chance of customers not having their legal rights honoured.

Boost for auto aftermarket

Two new ‘Innovation Labs’ are poised to bolster Australia’s profitable automotive aftermarket industry. The new facilities will provide start-ups, designers and manufacturers with the tools, expertise and support required to develop innovative new products.

The labs, which have been co-founded by Victorian and Federal Government grants, will be based in Victoria and South Australia. Each will feature advanced manufacturing services, such as rapid prototyping and 3D scanning systems, allowing companies to quickly test and develop new products.

Each will also be tailored to ensure they deliver the facilities currently required by Australia’s manufacturing industry, thanks to a collaboration with the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) – the national association that represents the industry. 

According to the AAAA, the country’s aftermarket manufacturers currently account for business totalling $5 billion per year. “Establishing this collaborative infrastructure will position our industry for future domestic and export market growth,” said AAAA executive director Stuart Charity. 

“It will provide the innovators of the industry with the leading edge technology and expertise needed to take Australian automotive industry innovations to the world – regardless of how large or small their businesses are.” 

What’s in your car parc?

IT IS essential to understand the local vehicle market if you run a workshop. 

After all, there’s no point offering extensive service and support for upmarket German imports if everyone in your area is hacking around in Rangers and HiLuxes.

That said, some trends or common models can go unnoticed. 

Consequently, the garage in question often won’t invest in the required tools or training to support these vehicles – which, ultimately, could lose them valuable trade.

Getting accurate and in-depth detail about what cars are based in the area, however, has long been problematic. 

Fortunately, market specialists ACA Research are busy developing a new data service that will easily allow a local workshop to find out exactly what cars are common among their local audience. 

While some sources – such as the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s Motor Vehicle Census – do offer similar data, it often requires considerable work and effort to extract useful information.

The ACA’s upcoming tool, however, will be quick and easy to use. 

Consequently, workshop operators will be able to make quick and informed business decisions and which marques and specific models they should be striving to support.

This, with the right investment, could open their doors to a wide range of profitable new avenues. 

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