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  1. "Opinion ‘Car Talk’ host: Independent auto shops deserve the right to repair your car September 28, 2022 at 7:00 a.m. EDT (Washington Post staff illustration; images by iStock) Ray Magliozzi is one half of NPR’s show “Car Talk,” a longtime independent repair-shop owner, a Dear Car Talk columnist and a car reviewer on CarTalk.com. When your car breaks, what do you do? Okay, after you utter a certain word? You have to decide where to take the car to get it fixed, right? You really have two choices. You can go to the dealership or an independent repair shop. However, some car manufacturers don’t want to share key information for diagnosing and fixing cars with independent shops — and that’s something that’s not only bad for repair shops but also bad for you. As a radio host who has advised thousands on their car problems and as an independent shop owner myself, I know all too well that car owners benefit when they have more choices. Congress is considering a national “right-to-repair” law, and lawmakers need to pass it to protect your rights as a consumer. Story continues below advertisement Back in the old days, when people were still switching over from traveling by mastodon, you repaired cars with your eyes, ears, nose and hands — and, if you were desperate, a Chilton repair manual. Now, you often repair a car by first plugging a computer into the on-board-diagnostics port and seeing what the computer tells you is broken. So, what’s the problem? Carmakers and their dealerships want to maintain control of modern diagnostic tools, which forces customers to come to them for repairs. Even though independents are willing to pay to license these tools, dealers see an advantage in exclusivity. Dealerships have always had certain advantages. They have better coffee in their waiting rooms. Heck, they have waiting rooms. They have clean restrooms that don’t double as auxiliary air-filter storage. They also work on your particular make of car all day, every day. So they might be familiar with an oddball problem because they’ve worked on 4,000 Camrys. Story continues below advertisement Independent shops are small businesses, run by individuals — some of whom are terrific people and mechanics and some of whom will blame your car troubles on demonic possession and give you essential oils to fix it. But independent shops have their own advantage: price. Their labor and parts costs are usually much lower — hey, who do you think is ultimately paying for the dealerships’ coffee and fancy couches? Some research has found that dealers, on average, charged as much as 20 percent more than independent shops for the same repairs. This article was featured in the Opinions A.M. newsletter. Sign up here for a digest of opinions in your inbox six days a week. There’s also the matter of distance. Not every town in the United States has a stop light, let alone a dealership for every car brand. There are 16,752 franchised car dealers in the United States, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, but there are nearly 240,000 repair shops — meaning that for a lot of people, an independent shop is the only nearby option. Story continues below advertisement At Car Talk, there are times we’ll strongly recommend an independent shop for standard work like brakes, shocks, the engine and regular service. And there are times we’ll recommend going to the dealership, like when you have a particularly rare problem that might be unique to your make and model. But at the end of the day, you should take your car to the dealer to be fixed because you want to not because dealers have hoarded all the key information. Beyond the information needed to diagnose and fix your car, dealerships also want to maintain control of your car’s telematics. What are telematics? Well, now that everything is connected to the internet, your car can notify your dealer when your car needs an oil change or has a blown sensor. Using the software they’re denying to independent shops, the dealer can then diagnose the trouble code, call you and schedule a repair. Most modern cars already have this ability. Car manufacturers point to the importance of keeping your car’s data safe — including your location, say — as a reason to deny independent shops access to these tools and codes. They are right about the need for data security, but part of privacy is that you should be the one to decide who has access to your data. Story continues below advertisement At least 17 states have laws on the books stating that your vehicle’s data belongs to you. Many independent repair shops will need to invest in tools to keep customer data secure, but just because they’ll need to invest doesn’t mean they can’t compete with dealers. Lack of choice — and competition — is never good for the consumer. So consumer groups and independent shops are promoting what they call right-to-repair legislation, guaranteeing consumers more choice by requiring automakers to license their data with independent repair shops. The voters in my fair state of Massachusetts approved just such a law in 2020. In 2021, 27 states introduced or passed similar legislation. Beyond those state laws, there’s a national push to protect consumers and independent shops. H.R. 6570, a national right-to-repair bill, has been sitting with the House Energy and Commerce Committee for months. My Car Talk colleagues and I know not everyone will support right-to-repair laws. Dealerships won’t like the level playing field. Mechanics might not like how much work they’ll actually have to do. Still, this is an issue everyone else can get behind. If you own something, you should be able to choose where to repair it. "
  2. So the other day i suspected my dealership wasn't rotating my tires on my 2017 Silverado. So i marked tires 2 changes ago this last change i noticed my front left went to my back left and my back left to my front left...no crossing sides?! Now in the book it specifies sides should cross, Web researching specifies this and many "models" to follow. So i talked to the service manager at the dealership and he said they don't cross rotate for "road noise" ??????? I called Chevy they specified they believe cross rotation is the proper way and confirmed by calling 2 other dealerships in the area to confirm 2/3 dealerships in my area cross rotate tires. Why would you not cross rotate the tires? now that it's 22k miles on my truck would starting to cross rotate them now mess with it more? i'm assuming so i'm guessing the tires are basically gone until i get new ones. Anyone else encountered similar issues and/or have feedback on the rotation situation.
  3. John Goreham Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com 10-17-2016 A few weeks back Cadillac announced that it had offered 400 of its 925 dealers a cash payment to quit selling the brand and close up shop. The $180K the company offered to help offset closing the franchise to owners was laughable. No shocker, but nearly all the Caddy dealers said no. Saying no means they will opt into a new, tiered, dealership program that rewards volume of sales. Dealers are not happy, particularly the rural, smaller dealerships. The plan seems to favor the larger urban Cadillac dealerships. Look at any recent Cadillac advertisement and it is pretty easy to believe that claim. Dan Creed, the sales chief for the Cadillac brand in North America, told Automotive News that 98.7% of Cadillac's dealers had signed up for the new program (that means 13 dealers opted not to play along). Some of Cadillac's smallest dealers will not even have cars on the lot anymore, but will be sort of like Tesla's design studios. Hmm....
  4. John Goreham Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com 9-27-2016 Be prepared to drive a little further to have your SRX serviced if GM's Cadillac has its way. The brand hopes to reduce the number of its dealerships significantly. This is a new endeavor by Cadillac called Project Pinnacle. Be prepared to be completely shocked by the following facts: - Cadillac had 400 dealers last year that sold less than 50 Cadillacs. Less than one vehicle per week. Lexus Dealers average 30 vehicles sold per week. - Those extremely low volume dealers make up fully 43% of Cadillac's dealerships, but only sold 9% of its vehicles in 2015. This shocking revelation shows just how far Cadillac's sales have fallen. Through August of this year Cadillac had sold just 103,918 vehicles. That is less than half of what Lexus sells. Look deeper and one sees that the Cadillac SRX accounted for about one-third of all Cadillac sales. Year to date, sales of the SRX and its replacement, the XT5, are down dramatically (about 32%). With Cadillac's top-seller in steep decline, and no replacement for those lost vehicles coming any time soon, Cadillac needs to downsize. The new plan that Cadillac's President, Johan de Nysschen has in mind will reward high-volume dealers with incentives. The more vehicles sold, the better the dealer's profits should be. This "survival of the fittest" dealer approach was not welcome by smaller dealers, hence Cadillac's offer to buy them out. “This is going to be a long, arduous and challenging journey and certainly not one for the faint-hearted,” said de Nysschen, whom GM hired to revitalize Cadillac in 2014. “Some people may choose to make life a little easier than what lies ahead.” Mr. de Nysschen went on to say about his new plan, “Every single Cadillac dealer will have the potential to earn significantly higher profits than they do today." So heads-up Cadillac shoppers. Your local dealer's profits are going up, or they are going away. For more details on Project Pinacle, please see the Automotive News story from which GM-Trucks.com pulled quotes and facts. Hat-tip to BestRide, where we saw this news first. Image Note: The image of the Cadillac dealership shown was part of Cadillac's 2012 press release related to "The Cadillac Luxury Buying Experience."
  5. Yesterday, Chevrolet and GMC announced that shipments of the two new mid-size trucks had began via rail and truck. Consumers have "configured" more than 100,000 of the mid-size trucks since the model's "build your own" tool went live online September 3rd. For 2016, a 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel will be offered as an engine choice. “The Colorado was designed to meet the demands of the modern midsized truck buyer, and now we’re fulfilling the demand they’ve placed on us,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet. “Chevrolet and everyone at the Wentzville plant has worked hard to get the truck out on time to fulfill as soon as possible the orders our dealers have placed.”
  6. By Zane Merva Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com 9/19/2014 The all new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are on their way to dealerships and customers Yesterday, Chevrolet and GMC announced that shipments of the two new mid-size trucks had began via rail and truck. Consumers have "configured" more than 100,000 of the mid-size trucks since the model's "build your own" tool went live online September 3rd. For 2016, a 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel will be offered as an engine choice. “The Colorado was designed to meet the demands of the modern midsized truck buyer, and now we’re fulfilling the demand they’ve placed on us,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet. “Chevrolet and everyone at the Wentzville plant has worked hard to get the truck out on time to fulfill as soon as possible the orders our dealers have placed.”
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