FRANKFURT -- Carmakers being questioned by the European Union about their cooperation with independent garages insisted on Wednesday they were not favoring their own repair networks over outsiders.
The European Commission said on Tuesday it was looking into whether Toyota, Fiat, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler made it hard or expensive for repairers, or makers of repair equipment, to get information they need.
The rules provide that carmakers must make information available on reasonable terms to independent garages.
Toyota said it was surprised by the comments because it had informed the Commission last month that it had set up a Web site (http://techdoc.toyota-europe.com) that lets mechanics see repair manuals.
"We think with the launch of this website we meet the needs of independent operators," a spokesman for the Japanese carmaker's European arm said, noting the Web site had more than 1,500 documents and a tracking system that lets people search for specific manuals that are not yet online.
GM also uses a Web-based distribution system that it has shown to the Commission, a spokesman said, adding the world's biggest carmaker had "no serious concerns" about the issue.
"Fiat Auto shares the same kind of information with all garages in a non-discriminatory fashion," a spokesman for the Italian group said.
DaimlerChrysler is cooperating fully with EU requests for information, a spokeswoman for the group said. "We are convinced that our practice complies with the regulations," she added.