On the first of July 2021, the automotive sector underwent one of its biggest changes in recent years. The hotly debated Right to Repair bill came into effect and it brought about some drastic changes. What is right to repair and how will it affect you? This article aims to answer a few of these questions so that you, the consumer can make better-informed choices.
The automotive industry contributes 6.4 percent to South Africa’s gross domestic product (4 percent manufacturing and 2.4 percent retail) and accounts for 30.1 percent of South Africa’s manufacturing output. It is the country’s fifth-largest exporting sector out of all 104 sectors and accounts for 13.9 percent of total exports. It is therefore a very important industry that has been shrouded in red tape for a few years. Right to Repair aims to remove much of this red tape.
When you purchase a new vehicle or a fairly new used vehicle you will find that the car comes with a service plan and warranty. This is a ‘nice-to-have benefit but it comes with some strict guidelines. South Africa is one of the few countries where customers are “locked into” using a vehicle manufacturer’s service centres, repair shops and parts with “embedded” motor and service plans. If they do however decide to use an independent service or repair provider, vehicle manufacturers void their warranties.
Right to Repair aims to ensure fair competition in the automotive repair supply chain. The consumer must have freedom of choice out of the various offerings by a multitude of independent companies which offer them the combination of service and price that caters to their individual needs.
Maintenance plans and service plans will be separated at the point of sale from the purchase price of the vehicle, allowing consumers to exercise choice regarding whether to purchase the maintenance plan or service plan. This is intended to make and will make servicing a more affordable option for South Africans while allowing for more players to provide car maintenance products for consumers whose motor vehicles are in warranty.
1. Unbundling: OEMs cannot bundle service plans or motor plans and other value-added products or add-on with the sale of motor vehicles. These need to be offered as separate products showing the cost and saving for the consumer. This means that consumers can now shop around for the best possible price. Many of these plans add substantial increases to the price of the car. Without that added price customers might be able to upgrade to a better vehicle.
2. Freedom of choice during the warranty period: The warranty cannot be voided because the consumer chooses to go to an independent service provider (ISP) for maintenance or for repair work which would not traditionally be covered by the existing warranty. The fitment of non-original parts or accessories can also not be penalised.
3. Access to technical information and training by ISPs: This allows independent workshops to get the same technical information, programming tools and training as the OEM approved workshops. For the consumer, this brings peace of mind but also, and more importantly, freedom of choice to select where one wants to go. Competition is always healthy and has been shown to lead to more investment.
4. Insurance work: Insurers must advise consumers, in clear and explicit terms, that they have a right to have the repairs on their vehicles undertaken by any service providers of their choice. This could be an approved motor body repairer or an independent service provider. Basically, this means the consumer has the freedom to choose where his vehicle is repaired, irrespective if it is an insurance claim.
Goldwagen is one of Southern Africa’s largest automotive parts suppliers. The company is able to supply many independent vehicle repair and service outlets across the country with their automotive parts needs. This is due to an ever-expanding range of quality equivalent parts for a wide range of vehicles such as BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Mazda, Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, Renault, Toyota and Volvo, to name but a few. In fact, many outlets already turn to the company for their automotive parts needs.
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This is also due to the fact that Goldwagen stocks the world’s leading automotive OE equivalent parts from manufacturers such as Bosch, Arnott, Monroe, Vemo, Garrett, Blue Print, DPA, SKF, Hella, Liqui Moly, MAHLE, MEYLE, Bilstein, Surebrake, SACHS, MANN Filter, Febi Bilstein and Wolf Lubricants just to name a few. The latter, Wolf Lubricants is exclusively available through the Goldwagen distribution network.
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Customers can also rest assured that their parts will be delivered promptly because Goldwagen has established one of the country’s largest parts distribution centres in Gauteng. With over 100 stores across the land, customers won’t have to worry about the age-old “We need to order it from overseas” scenario. This means that your car can be repaired with quality OE equivalent parts effectively.
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