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Vehicle telematics: the aftermarket industry should care – a lot

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
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Big data is big business and as it stands right now, the aftermarket is not in the game. Vehicle manufacturers are the only ones with access to this data and they have signaled their concerns in making it available to the car owner or the parties of their choosing. A technical proposal for a secure vehicle interface (SVI) has been developed by a coalition of industry organizations including the Auto Care Association, AASA, AAA, AIA Canada, ASA and the Equipment and Tool Institute.

The position of the Telematics Task Force is “Vehicle owners own the data being generated by their vehicles and they should be able to use that data to direct the service of their vehicles to the location of their choice. The members of the Telematics Task Force believe that independent vehicle parts and service providers can work hand-in-hand with vehicle manufacturers to use telematics to benefit vehicle owners over the entire life of their vehicles.”

Safety and security concerns are often raised in the discussion of access to telematics data. Of course, no solution should allow for an independent technician to remotely slam on the brakes at 60 MPH. Nor, should customer and vehicle information be accessible by anyone other than those authorized by the vehicle owner. These important protocols can and must be addressed in coordinated efforts between the car manufacturers and other interested stakeholders.

The reality is that modern vehicles come equipped to communicate with other vehicles and with the roadside infrastructure. Federal transportation rulemaking should not ignore the need for vehicles to communicate with the shops that service them – both independent and OE-aligned shops.

For several years now, there has been industry-wide hand wringing and posturing. Earlier this year, there was a written technical proposal to SAE International, signed by all interested parties – both aftermarket and OEM – advocating the further development of the SVI. That overture was ignored and never got a reply. That’s puzzling and unacceptable.

This freight train of an issue is barreling down the tracks. In fact, it’s already here. There will be some 250 million vehicles within 36 months that the aftermarket service channel won’t know are in need of service until after it’s too late. If I am a car manufacturer, that seems like a poor way to build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. For the independent service channel, it seems a certain path to limited consumer choice in the time and place of service. And, its’s a huge blind spot for the service requirements of a sophisticated fleet of vehicles.

Everyone reading this should care a lot about telematics and the consumer’s right to manage the flow of information from their vehicle. One way to express how much you care is to come to the Auto Care Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. October 3-4. See for more information and to register.

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