General Motors and other member companies of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation are challenging a voter-approved ballot initiative in Massachusetts that would allow for changes to be made to the state’s Right to Repair laws.
According to Reuters, representatives from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and its various member companies took the witness stand this week to testify before Boston U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock. The group, which represents major automakers like General Motors, Ford and Toyota, sued to block the Massachusetts ballot initiative last fall. If passed, the initiative would require automakers to provide independent repair shops with more access to mechanical and electronic repair data for their vehicles, thereby making it easier for smaller shops to work on complex modern cars, trucks and SUVs.
The Automotive Alliance for Innovation is looking for the U.S. district judge to block the law, saying “years of manufacturers’ work and billions of dollars in investment to protect and secure vehicle data will effectively be obliterated,” if it were to pass. In a brief filed last week, the group also said the law would “make serious cyberattacks much more likely and deadly than the attacks on pipelines and meat processors currently in the news.”
Additionally, as safety and vehicle emissions controls are embedded in the protected software of modern vehicles, the group argues the Massachusetts law would stand in opposition to federal laws protecting those systems and violate the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Clean Air Act.
Advanced vehicle systems have made it difficult for independent repair shops to work on new vehicles, with manufacturers limiting access to repair instructions and warranties to pre-approved shops only. Independent shops argue this is a way for manufacturers to take control of vehicle repairs and increase profits.
GM Authority will provide an update on this case as more information comes to light in the coming months.