Article Synopsis :
The European aftermarket, or the value chain that keeps a vehicle on the road once purchased, is a big deal. It serves 320 million passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles and generates more than €240 billion a year.
This market is being disrupted by a) the shift from traditional cars to electric vehicles; b) the integration of connectivity; c) new technology entrants bringing new and advanced skills; d) mobility as a service; and e) autonomous driving solutions.
Even without the uncertain economic climate, automakers are under pressure. Their relationship with their client is not that different from traditional insurers, who have little or no contact between sales and renewals.
Carmakers are looking to change that and take greater control of the relationship the car driver or owner and make use of the data generated by the vehicle, says this report from Quantalyse and Schönenberger Advisory Services.
Black boxes are not popular
Proprietary data access models have been developed so that in-vehicle data can only be accessed via the manufacturer. This has been met with concerns about shortcomings from technical, legal and competition law perspectives.
This paper looks at how far this concept has travelled and suggests the interests are disparate and fail to allow for pan-European regulations like those that have been developed, such as the digital single market or PSD2 in open banking.
It suggests the industry and regulators should look to the examples of software and telecommunications for lessons in standards, as both are well established and driven by data.
Consumers don’t like being told what to do
Research shows that consumers would be open to new data-based services, but they don’t want to be dictated who they must deal with and won’t be told forced to use a provider who they consider not to offer them control or to lack transparency.
Independent garages are seen as high-quality alternatives to franchised outlets and won’t be forced into to using the latter unless they can compete on service, price and quality.
A bad day for consumers
Without formally regulated standards for car data, independents would have to pay manufacturers more for vehicle data, prognostics for repair/maintenance in garages, and lose competitive advantages as franchised outlets are treated more favourably.
The paper throws around some big numbers, but ultimately, if the current data access models are adopted, manufacturers will be able to integrate themselves into the aftermarket and develop stronger relationships with the consumer, at the expense of the independents.
Consumers will also suffer loss as to make up for increased costs, while choice and competition are greatly reduced.
Regulation for consumer protection
The paper suggests that to provide maximum innovation and benefit for European citizens, a robust regulatory framework concerning data read/write and driver access is required.
Furthermore, data should be future-proofed by learning from mistakes made in other sectors. These lessons should then be brought together in the search for meaningful data standards.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsDigital transformation is taking over every sector and autos are hovering on the edge of becoming part of the internet of things (IoT).
How that data is gathered, analysed and distributed will have a major impact upon the aftermarket industry.
After all, whose data is it anyway? Even if the individuals who generate the data do not own it, they must have some rights under existing regulatory frameworks, let alone any created to tackle this particular example.
Consumers will also need protection from the stranglehold manufacturers could place on independent garages and technicians in order to protect consumer choice and competition.
After all, if the franchises were so good, there would be no need for independents, would there?
Access will be everything and automakers could see their position strengthen unless the industry and regulators take a pragmatic view as to how it should be treated.
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