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Biggest automotive show opens in Sydney
More than 360 exhibitors makes the AAAA Expo the year’s biggest automotive show
11 Apr 2013
By IAN PORTER
AUSTRALIA’S largest automotive industry show kicked off in Sydney today with a plea to government to ensure there is a level playing field when it comes to accessing repair and maintenance data from car-makers.
The Automotive Aftermarket Expo and Collision and Repair Expo sold out four halls at the Darling Harbour exhibition centre, equivalent to two hectares (five acres) of floor space.
It was the fourth consecutive time the biennial event had been a sell-out.
Executive director of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) Stuart Charity launched the show with an impressive set of statistics to underline its relevance to the wider automotive industry.
Floor space has been bought by 367 exhibitors spanning the wide range of AAAA membership, from parts manufacturers to importers, manufacturers of lubricants, car care products and other goods and service providers.
There is also a huge range of workshop equipment on display and the hall is dotted with international delegations from countries including Thailand and China.
Mr Charity said there were hundreds of delegates from 30 countries registered to attend.
Left: Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Executive Director Stuart Charity
He also recapped the situation regarding the campaign to win access to repair and maintenance data from the car-makers, saying that assistant treasurer David Bradbury was expected to release his formal response to the issue in a few weeks.
Mr Bradbury had been scheduled to appear at a seminar at the Expo on Friday afternoon, but he will not now appear.
It is believed he has withdrawn because he is not yet ready to give a formal response to the recommendations of the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs and Advisory Council (CCAAC).
The industry is waiting on the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to complete a proposed voluntary code of conduct, which is expected to take a further five months.
This is in line with the recommendation from the CCAAC, released last November, for the interested parties to work out a voluntary code of conduct.
The CCAAC recommended that, while there was no evidence of consumer detriment, the various parties should work out a system that will give non-authorised repairers access to necessary data.
“The council also expects the industry outcome will address the accessibility of repair information to rural and regional Australia as a priority,” Mr Charity said.
“Obviously, travel distances mean that consumers in rural and regional areas are at a greater detriment than those in metropolitan areas,” Mr Charity said.
“It also encouraged the group to come to an early resolution on some of the more simple issues – for example, access to overseas websites using Australian credit cards and Australian VIN (vehicle identification numbers)”.
Mr Charity said the AAAA was also very pleased to see that the CCAAC recommend state consumer agencies continue to educate consumers that they are not required to have their vehicles repaired or maintained by an authorised repairer to ensure continuation of their manufacturer’s warranty.
“I think that is something of an urban myth that has been perpetuated, that you have to get your vehicle serviced during the warranty period at an authorised dealer. That is not the case under Australian consumer law.
Mr Charity said assistant Treasurer David Bradbury had indicated he would raise this warranty issue at the next joint State and Federal ministerial meeting of all the relevant ministers in July.
“We’re really pleased with the progress and the response we have got from around the industry.
“From our point of view, we really want to work collaboratively. We want something that is there for all parties.
“It is not about one side gaining a competitive advantage. With the way technology is going, it is all about maintaining a level playing field and the open competition and all the segments that we enjoy in our industry today.”
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