AIA Canada Continues to Make a Difference

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For 2018, the AIA will continue to support the industry and its members through insightful research into topics that directly impact their businesses. (Photo: AIA)

Through innovation, emerging technologies, disruptors, and new mobility, the automotive industry is changing at a rapid pace that will invariably influence the aftermarket sector.

In 2017,  the AIA  demonstrated its commitment through cutting-edge market research and policy reports. The much sought-after, ‘Disruptors in the Automotive Aftermarket,’ made the case for how technological change will impact different segments of the industry, while also providing a clear roadmap to navigate those changes. It’s Consumer Behaviour Series continued to shed light on car owners’ perspectives on repair and maintenance, telematics, and more.

For 2018, AIA will continue to support the industry and its members through insightful research into topics that directly impact their businesses. The 2018 Outlook Study is a staple strategic planning tool that members have come to expect from us. AIA is also launching AutoConnect, a one of a kind website that will help fulfill the aftermarket’s labour needs.

AIA Canada will also put a dollar value on the impact industry disruptors will have on aftermarket businesses.

Both the Senate and House of Commons have committees that study issues that will impact Canadian society. The findings from these studies inform government – influencing policy, programs, and legislation. In May 2017, AIA testified before a Senate committee, studying the technical and regulatory issues related to the deployment of autonomous and connected vehicles.

Recognizing the enticing power of the increasing amount of data that is collected and sent from vehicles, the committee has recommended that government monitors activity on the vehicle data front to ensure that the aftermarket has access to the data it needs to provide its services.

The battle for access to vehicle data collected via autonomous and connected vehicle technology is a heated topic in the United States. Associations representing vehicle manufacturers are throwing their support behind some pieces of legislation related to vehicle data while throwing grenades at other pieces.

So, what can we expect to hear from vehicle manufacturers, the current landlords of this data, about how data should be managed in the future?

Take the Global Automakers opposition to a bill in Rhode Island (2016) for example. The bill would require car companies to provide car owners with the ability to control where information transmitted by vehicle telematics systems is sent.

Global Automakers argues that there is no need for such open data lines since consumers choice in where they have their vehicles serviced is alive and well since Right to Repair ensures that shops have access to vehicle data through onboard diagnostics (OBD).

The problem with this argument – many predict that it is the beginning of the end for the OBD – and the beginning of the beginning for data being accessed via OEM servers.

The available data, which could include driver behaviour data, health data, personal contacts, and schedules, is potentially very valuable and many stakeholders wish to secure access to it. In particular, witnesses from the aftermarket and rental car sectors told the Committee that there are some legitimate uses for which their sectors should have access to that data.

In the aftermarket sector, the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS), a voluntary “right to repair” agreement, ensures that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) share their service and repair information with the automotive aftermarket to enable them to carry out repairs.

However, Jean François Champagne, President of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada), told the Committee that CASIS is silent on the issue of telematics, the CV technology that collects and sends data from the vehicle in real time. Mr. Champagne explained that OEMs may use this technology to limit competition: It [telematics] provides OEMs and their dealerships with unprecedented access to communicate with a car and its owner.

This creates a customer monopoly through a closed-loop communication circuit. This closed-loop communication circuit will increasingly facilitate the capabilities of OEMs to, among other things, instruct an owner of a vehicle to bring their vehicle into a specific dealership for a routine checkup and to conduct remote diagnostics, repairs and software updates.

The above-mentioned applications of telematic services have the potential to give OEMs a huge competitive advantage in the battle for repair dollars by driving business away from independent repair and maintenance shops.

In spite of these concerns, Champagne told the Committee that AIA Canada intends to continue working within the framework of CASIS, the voluntary “right to repair” agreement between OEMs and the automotive aftermarket system. Nevertheless, he added that “it is not beyond the realm of possibility that, someday, we’ll be back here with a request, telling you that, our efforts aside, it might be time for the government to get involved in the matter and establish a regulatory structure.”

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