Transport ministry to look into Proton X50, X70 spare parts shortage and right to repair outside official 4S network

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The Selangor and Federal Territory Engineering and Motor Parts Traders’ Association (EMPTA) has met with the transport ministry to air several issues faced by more than 1,100 member companies associated with EMPTA. One of the matters that was brought up in the discussion was that surrounding parts and services related to the Proton X50 and X70.

According to transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, the association voiced its concerns at parts sellers and owners not being able to obtain parts and services to fix or repair X50 and X70 models outside of the Proton network, with owners forced to fix their vehicles at the original maker’s 4S facilities. Parts shortages have obviously meant delays on that front.

Back in March, Proton said it was taking steps to address the issue of a shortage of parts for both scheduled servicing and accident repairs, a matter that had caused quite a bit of unhappiness among customers. The automaker said that it targeted to have adequate stock of fast moving parts in place by the end of June.

In a Facebook post highlighting the meeting with EMPTA, Wee said that the ministry will look into whether this action violates any rules of competition or reduces the right to repair for owners of these models.

Discussions over the right to repair topic are not new. In October last year, the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC), in publishing its latest Market Review Under Competition Act 2010 for Selected Transportation Sectors, said it had identified competition issues, as well as market concerns or regulatory issues in relation to the warranty claims for motor vehicles.

It said that warranty restrictions imposed by car manufacturers may possibly prevent or limit competition in the car repair and service industry. For servicing, the review said that the exclusionary clauses in new car warranties could potentially lead to the market being foreclosed only to franchise (3S/4S) or authorised workshops within the car manufacturers’ network, reducing consumers’ choices and preventing competition from independent workshops.

The situation is amplified when it comes to accident repairs. Due to warranty restrictions, independent repairers are likely to face barriers preventing them from repairing new cars that are still under warranty, leaving franchise workshops within the car manufacturers’ network as the only choice in these cases.

In cases where consumers still choose to send their new cars to an independent workshop, there have been instances where consumers were asked to sign indemnity letters, where it was stated that the vehicle owner was fully aware that he or she was engaging the services of an independent workshop, and that the entire manufacturer’s warranty would be voided as a result. This, MyCC said, potentially creates pressure for the vehicle owner to engage only the services of workshops within the authorised network

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