WATERTOWN, Mass. – It’s not uncommon to see workers repairing a Subaru car or SUV inside Direct Tire & Auto Service in Watertown; Owner Bob Lane said it was the most popular car they service. But lately, Lane said he’s heard complaints about Subaru disabling certain systems in their new vehicles.
“It’s all about data,” Lane said.
According to the Associated PressSubaru disables its in-car wireless technology that connects drivers to music, navigation, roadside assistance and collision avoidance sensors. The AP reports Subaru’s decision stems from the passage of the Right to Repair Act of 2020, which was overwhelmingly approved by Massachusetts voters. The law states that automakers must give consumers access to a vehicle’s telematics data, which is diagnostic information collected over a wireless connection.
“Rather than comply, they disable the car’s telematics,” Lane said. “If that stuff is off, it’s just not safe and it’s not good.”
According to the AP, the law requires automakers to create an “open standard for sharing mechanical data.” Dominick Infante, spokesperson for Subaru told the AP by e-mail, “the inability to comply” with this provision “is a disservice to both our retailers and our customers… The data platform that the new law requires to provide the data does not does not exist and will not exist any time soon”.
Tommy Hickey, Director of Right to Repair Coalitionsaid it was a stall tactic by automakers to delay implementation of the law.
“What they’ve shown us time and time again is that profits are more important to them than consumers and that cars are repaired in an open repair market,” Hickey said. “People should be upset. It’s something Massachusetts consumers voted for, they wanted their repair data, they wanted to take their car wherever they wanted, and the automakers stick their thumbs up and say, “No.” We won’t do that. We would rather not sell you the car with all [these] capacities. »
Boston 25 News heard from Subaru of America on Friday morning and they provided us with a statement:
“Subaru recently stopped offering our telematics product to Massachusetts customers on 2022 Subaru vehicles. This was not about complying with the law – complying with the law at present is impossible – but rather avoid violating it. The reason for this action is simple: the data platform that the new law requires to deliver the data does not exist and will not exist anytime soon.
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