The Competition Commission has gazetted a draft code of conduct for competition in the South African automotive industry and is calling for public comment by 3 November. “It is crucial that the public and motor trade has a look at the draft code and submits comments. This is our chance to see real change that will benefit consumers and their rights when it comes to servicing their vehicles,” says Pieter Niemand, Director of MIWA.

The consumer has been sold the misperception that independent workshops and aftermarket parts will reduce the safety of vehicles if they do repairs. But in reality, if you look at Europe and the US, where the principles of Right to Repair (R2R) were introduced decades ago, the roadworthiness of vehicles is much higher.

Referring to maintenance and motor plans, according to the draft code, maintenance plans locking the consumer into a contract with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) dealerships are still permitted, but must be offered independently of the vehicle. If those products are beneficial to the consumer, the consumer will still have the option to purchase them. What’s important is that the consumer also has the right to decline them. Already we are seeing brands offering vehicles, especially entry level vehicles, with the option to purchase a basic warranty, a service plan or a maintenance plan. Because these aren’t automatically included in the purchase of the vehicle it brings the price down.

He says the draft outlines the conditions which the R2R campaign has been working towards. “The code is particularly encouraging considering the R2R campaign’s initiators approached the OEMs requesting that they voluntary and by mutual agreement participate in the drafting of a code which would benefit all parties. At the time, this approach was given the cold shoulder by the OEMs and partners so this draft will now require that the OEMs participate in the process. R2RSA is eagerly awaiting the reaction from the OEM fraternity.”

Niemand is encouraging all MIWA members to have a look at the code and send any comments to him directly on Pieter.Niemand@rmi.org.za.

Click here to review the draft code

Final Code of Conduct For Competition In Automotive Industry 20 09 17.pdf