Automakers will be forced to provide vehicle repair and service services to more consumers if a new rule from the US Department of Transportation is approved.
The Transportation Department released its rules on Tuesday.
A new rule requiring automakers to offer vehicle repair or service services is a key part of the Trump administration’s plan to address rising auto insurance costs, which is one of the biggest reasons consumers are switching to electric vehicles.
More than 2 million vehicles are covered by auto insurance through the companies’ vehicle owners’ associations, according to the Department of Insurance.
That’s up from just under 1 million cars and trucks covered in 2017, but automakers are hoping the rules will drive down the costs of repairs and the number of people needing to visit their vehicle service centers.
According to the DOT, the average cost of repair and maintenance for new vehicles will decrease by a quarter in 2025, compared to 2021, as a result of the rules.
However, the new rule will have some drawbacks for companies, as it does not require automakers to provide car service or repair to all of their vehicles, as required under the Obama administration’s rules.
Automakers will need to make repairs on vehicles at a dealership to get the full benefits of the program, and they will be required to offer the services to a certain percentage of their fleet.
For example, the rule will require automakers with at least 50 percent of their vehicle fleet covered to offer repairs on at least 10 percent of the fleet.
If a company fails to meet the 10 percent requirement, the manufacturer would be fined $100 per day.
To meet the mandate, automakers must have at least one service center that has at least 30 full-time employees and has two or more of its technicians working 24 hours per week, and at least five of those technicians must be trained in the repair and restoration services offered by the manufacturer.
The DOT also requires companies to maintain at least three repair centers that are in compliance with the rule, and each company must provide at least two repair centers in the contiguous United States.
Automakers are required to maintain up to $200 million in vehicles that are eligible for the program.