Dual garage ways

My local garage is a small, family-run business. It is just two and a half miles away. They have looked after a succession of cars owned either by me or by members of my family for almost thirty years now. It has been an entirely successful experience. With the advent of ever more complex electronic systems in vehicles these days, just occasionally one has to arrange a visit to the main dealers instead, a twenty five mile journey. Comparisons are natural. The initial aim of main dealers seems to be to impress. One arrives in a showroom full of shiny cars, lots of smartly dressed staff in attendance, potted plants everywhere and plush seats for the waiting customers. The organisation seems efficient, although a bit impersonal. But I have one nagging thought: all this opulence costs money and I am one of the people paying for it. Sure enough, when the time comes to settle the bill, I can see that the hourly rate for labour is roughly two and a half times that of my local garage. I recently heard an ugly rumour that, in the near future, independent garages may find themselves starved of the vital technical information currently supplied by the motor manufacturers. Without this data the independents would surely wither leaving the main dealers with a clear field devoid of any competition, and, as for the wretched motorist, we would be denied choice and our annual costs would increase yet again. Is this progress?
Yes, that's exactly what's happening in Europe. And it's happening through EC rulings that your little vote on 4th June had no influence on. There is a right to repair campaign (www.r2rc.co.uk), but it’s basically mice shouting at elephants before they get trampled. Paradoxically, common sense over this may come from Germany. The effect of the scrappage scheme has wiped out a lot of small garages in Germany, creating a surprising amount of unemployment.
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