Aftermarket Demands Access to Vehicle Data

Sept. 19, 2019

A draft of a bill that would give car owners and independent auto repair facilities, including tire dealerships, access to telematically transmitted vehicle diagnostic and repair data is circulating on Capitol Hill. The bill, which has not yet been named, is being pushed by the United States Vehicle Data Access Coalition, according to Paul Fiore, senior director, government affairs, for the Auto Care Association, which is hosting the 2019 Auto Care Legislative Summit this week in Washington, D.C. (The coalition includes the Auto Care Association and other automotive aftermarket companies and trade groups, which, collectively, are seeking bipartisan legislative support.)

"Right now, cars are transmitting data wirelessly, but only to car manufacturers," who in turn, share that information exclusively with authorized car dealerships, says Fiore.

Consumers, as well as independent repair facilities, do not have access to that information, which curtails the ability of vehicle owners to choose where they have automotive service work performed and limits the ability of independent garages to service vehicles, he adds.

"We're trying to make sure the consumer has the opportunity to say, 'I want my car's data to be sent to the garage of my choosing,'" says Fiore. "The independent tire dealer needs to be part of that communication loop."

More than 300 representatives from the United States automotive aftermarket are attending this week's summit event, which earlier today included visits to senate and congressional offices on Capitol Hill. 

Bob Hendry of Group 31 Inc., who attended several meetings, characterized the lock-out of telematically transmitted vehicle data as "a crisis."

"We need to cut this off at the pass," he told Legislative Correspondent Chanty Gbaye during a meeting in Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-Ohio) office.

Roy Littlefield IV, TIA's director of government affairs, told Modern Tire Dealer that vehicle data access is "so important for tire dealers. We have to seize every opportunity we can" to educate legislators.

Ownership of telematic vehicle data "is probably the most significant issue facing our industry" and will gain importance as vehicles become more sophisticated, says Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs, for the Auto Care Association.

By the year 2022, 87% of new vehicles in the U.S. will have the ability to transmit data via telematics, Lowe told summit attendees.

"Vehicle owners should have the right to say who has access to their data," he says.

For more information, visit the Auto Care Association's website.