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Looking Into The Future Of Car Connectivity, Vehicle Data, and Repair

Connectivity, Vehicle Data, and Repair

Last week NAPA AUTO PARTS looked into the future ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems) arena. This week we look at the future of car connectivity, vehicle data, and what it means in the world of auto repair.

Vehicles are increasingly performing more like computers using evolving technology including software, data, and connectivity requiring more maintenance be done remotely via over-the-air updates. That means the skills required to maintain and repair these vehicles will become more demanding.

There is also the question of data access. By 2022, it’s estimated that more than 80% of new vehicles in this country will be equipped with wireless technology that transmits vehicle data in real time, according to IHS Markit forecasts. Currently, this data is sent directly to auto manufacturers making them the gatekeepers and giving them full control over who has access to the data, how it is accessed, and how much access costs. Today, independent repair shops are prevented from the ability to make certain repairs or must pay dearly for the information that would allow it.

While Right to Repair, initiated in Massachusetts and accepted nationally in 2012, guaranteed every car owners’ right to have their vehicles serviced and repaired at the facility of their choice, it did not include telematics. Massachusetts voters made their voices known on that issue in November 2020, passing Ballot Question 1 by over 75%. It expands the law to include all wireless data, preserving the right as vehicle owners to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data used for service and repair at the shops of their choice.

However, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation representing the automakers filed suit three weeks later stating the law was null and void because it is preempted by federal law and would expose vehicles to cybersecurity threats and whether the manufacturers can comply by the 2022 model year data specified in the new law.

The case between the automakers and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts went to trial in June 2021 with the Auto Care Association testifying on behalf of the automotive repair industry. One of the most contentious issues is whether the law’s 2022 implementation date can be realistically carried out by the auto manufacturers. A ruling is still pending.

Bill Hanvey, President and CEO of the Auto Care Association said, “If the decision goes against the voters, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will appeal. No doubt, the auto makers will appeal as well if the issue isn’t decided in their favor.”

“Remember, advocacy starts at the grass roots level. It’s important for NAPA AUTO PARTS owners and their customers to become advocates for their industry so lawmakers understand the importance of this issue from the people who get the job done every single day.” Simply put? The Auto Care Association needs you to speak up.”

NAPA is continuing to play an active role supporting the rights of consumers through work with the Auto Care Association, CARE (Coalition for Auto Repair Equity), FIGIEFA (the European Federation of Aftermarket Distributors), and other industry groups to ensure the rights of the aftermarket are upheld. More information can be found at autocare.org. All NAPA stores and their customers are urged to make their voice heard on this issue by sending a letter to their legislator at autocareadvocacy.org.

Next week NAPA AUTO PARTS looks into the future of shared mobility and vehicle fleets.

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More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.

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