Pictured: VACC Industry Policy Advisor, John Khoury (left) and NASTF Executive Officer, Donny Seyfer.
The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Scheme will be implemented in Australia from 1 July 2022. Spearheading the roll-out is the US-based National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) Executive Officer, Donny Seyfer, who will work closely with the Scheme Advisor, the Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority (AASRA).
In order to keep automotive business owners up to date on initiative developments, Seyfer gave an online presentation to Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) member-businesses – including those from VACC and TACC. He also sat down with Australasian Automotive to talk shop.
What are your primary responsibilities in the lead up to the Scheme rollout?
Right now, my primary responsibility is to help all the parties communicate with each other. Then, explain the technical specifications to the automakers for their involvement, and work with the rest of the AASRA board and the team to implement the membership side of things. So, there are two things going on: The automakers getting the information organised so it can be delivered from 1 July. Then NASTF, which is my organisation, and AASRA working together to make that membership component functional.
What experience from the US will you draw on to assist AASRA with the Scheme implementation?
I worked for 35 years as a repair shop owner and technician, trainer and service advisor. So, I have worked at the shop level for many years, and I have been with NASTF since it was founded in 2000. Basically, I held every role you can there before becoming Executive Officer.
That secure data release model software that we launched in 2006, our current NASTF chairman was the guy who made that all happen – and he passed the torch to me in 2016 and said, 'modernise this thing!'. So, I have a very deep and intimate knowledge of how it works and how we can implement it to fit into the Scheme as fully as we possibly can on launch. It's not really that big of a change on the secure data release side – which is where the security and safety piece comes from – it's really the membership side of things that we are modifying extensively and so, for me, it has been about extracting information from the law and all the parties and then trying to bring that practical aspect of the law into the 'how do you actually pull this off with human beings?'
How will the Scheme benefit Australian motorists?
The biggest thing for the motorist is they will be receiving their cars faster. Service will be faster because the need to find a piece of information that takes days to source or is difficult to source (will be eliminated).
I was amazed at the AAA Expo, some of the things that repairers are doing to – if you will – reverse engineer the repair process, and then share it out with others. All this when the information already exists in written form – they just do not have fair access to it. So, (the Scheme) will also cut down that guessing game that sometimes repairers have to play to repair a car. And that is the unfortunate part, 70 per cent of the vehicle repairs done in Australia are done by independent repairers and they are not on the same playing field as car manufacturers and their affiliated repairers. They don't have that same information and they don't have it in the same timely manner. That is where the implementation of the Scheme will really benefit motorists – they are already going there! So, now they are going to get a better implementation of the whole repair process.
You ran a webinar to inform MTAA members of Scheme progress. What did you take away from the session – was there a reoccurring question or concern from attendees that stood out?
What I hear, no matter where I go, are the same questions. 'How are we going to do this. How are we going to do that?’ In most cases, they are details that are not directly called out in the Scheme, rather things that are intended to be dealt with down the line.
For example, ‘what does an aggregator do with service information and how do they get it?’ Well, aftermarket scan tools have the same functionality. I have heard that at every function I have presented and so, that is clearly something that AASRA will need to talk about, and their committees will need to work through together.
If MTAA members were unable to make the webinar, the main thing we were trying to explain was how the implementation of the Scheme works. Also, that there are multiple roles and that it's almost an all of cart kind of approach to how you would be a member of AASRA. (Additionally, as) the automakers have some heavy lifting to do, we have a few workarounds that will be in place on 1 July – with the view to phase out of those as quickly as possible.
Where can repairers go for Scheme updates in the lead up to 1 July 2022?
The website is aasra.com.au. There is a link in the bottom right-hand corner of the homepage that will allow users to send us an email and say, 'Let us know what's going on’ and we can keep them in the loop. My intention here is, as we get pieces of information decided on, instead of it being a fire hose of information all at once we can start feeding it out as we go, because it is kind of complex.
One of the things that I have learned from presentations is that the shops still don't quite believe it's true. They say, 'So I am going to be able to buy a scan tool – what's the catch?' Well, there isn't one – except maybe there aren't enough scan tools available right now (to go around).
That is what the law is trying to address, and I think at the AAA Expo I said it four times, 'Ok, the answer is yes you can get the information you need. And if you can't, there is a function on the website that enables users to report issues if they do run into problems accessing data.’
If we can start pushing information out as AASRA makes decisions, repairers can start to assimilate where we're going. We expect to start signing members up well before 1 July. Users will know when because there will be a prompt on the website. If we can start onboarding members then when the automaker sites start coming online, they will have the access to them as soon as possible. Right now, you can link to the sites that exist already on the AASAR website, but they are not full implementations yet.
Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority (AASRA): aasra.com.au
ACCC: Motor vehicle information scheme (MVIS)