The evolving regulatory picture around access to customer and car data

Andrew Tongue

Publication Number: Executive Briefing 05/18

Author: Andrew Tongue

Date: April 16, 2018

Tags: Automotive regulation, Dealers, Channel strategy, Customer insight

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Much of our aftermarket research has to do with the dynamics of competition between the different players in the sector.  As successive consumer surveys have shown, our choice of an aftersales provider usually comes down to us finding an acceptable compromise between affordability, quality, and convenience.  This acceptable compromise may mean a traditional independent repairer for a rural driver of an old car, an OEM-franchised workshop for the driver of a young car still under warranty, or an autocentre chain for a fleet manager looking for a consistent offer for his drivers across a market.

But increasingly, this trade-off, and the aftermarket competition that results from it, is being made more complex by the addition of a new factor – data generated by the car and its driver in the course of its use.  This not only raises questions for all players over whether customers will be prepared to share the data they are generating (and most of it is characterised as ‘personal’ data), but also for the independent aftermarket in particular over whether they will be able to access sufficiently detailed data, sufficiently quickly, to be able to keep up with their OEM-franchised competitors.  The good news on the first question is that, despite understandable reservations over sharing data about their location, most customers increasingly understand that allowing providers to access different elements of their motoring data should enable them to receive more customised service (such as pre-diagnosis of potential faults) and an improved overall ownership experience in return.

The second question however, around rights of access to in-vehicle data for the independent aftermarket, has turned into a major regulatory debate at European level, and one which has pitted the OEMs against independent aftermarket players and others.  It is set to remain an extremely prominent topic over the coming years as the regulatory solutions develop, and as more connected features roll out across the car parc.

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