Auto group sues to block Massachusetts vehicle data initiative

By David Shepardson and Tina Bellon
WASHINGTON / NEW YORK (Reuters) - A group representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG and other major automakers filed a lawsuit on Friday to block an election initiative by the state of Massachusetts that allows access to vehicle data should be expanded drastically.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of an initiative to revise the state's "Right to Repair" law of 2013, which would allow automakers to provide expanded access to mechanical and electronic repair data and allow independent repairers to repair increasingly sophisticated technologies have to.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation trade group said that if the law goes into effect, "years of manufacturers' work and billions of dollars in investments to protect and secure vehicle data will be effectively wiped out."
The legal battle could help determine who will control the U.S. aftermarket for $ 390 billion worth of auto data in the digital age. The auto group asked a U.S. district judge in Boston to block the law, which is set to go into effect in model year 2022. The Massachusetts Attorney General declined to comment.
Unprecedented advances in modern vehicles and accident prevention systems have led many automakers to limit information and warranties to only parts and repairs from authorized dealers in order to ensure safety and privacy.
They argue that such data is complex and sensitive, and that using content to repair modern cars requires extensive training from people with proprietary technology.
Independent repair groups have reprimanded these restrictions in order to take control of the lucrative repair market and force consumers into more expensive, manufacturer-affiliated dealerships. They are also concerned that automakers are increasingly pushing for wireless repair data transfers, which will limit third-party access.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in July that the measure "obliges vehicle manufacturers to redesign their vehicles in a way that inevitably creates cybersecurity risks, at a time that effectively makes it impossible to plan, demonstrate, and implement reasonable countermeasures. ""
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Tina Bellon in New York; additional reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Diane Craft and Tom Brown)
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