Technology

Auto Data Campaign Builds Momentum Around Right-to-Repair Issue

By / Sep 23, 2019 (4X-image/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Groups focused on aftermarket repairs are campaigning to help draw attention to the growing collection of data in vehicles—and the fact that consumers and repair shops often don’t have access to that data.

The Right to Repair movement, which has been driven by the association sector in particular, is about being able to take things apart and put them together again.

But it’s also about access to data. And that’s what led to a new partnership between two major aftermarket automotive groups.

The Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) recently announced plans to work together on “Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.,” an advocacy and public awareness program launched by ACA earlier this year.

The gist of the issue, as explained in the above video, is this: Cars have increasingly become more technical over the years, with increasingly more advanced features that produce detailed data about the way consumers use the vehicles. However, this data is not easily accessible either by consumers or aftermarket repair firms, despite the fact it may have significant value to them.

In a May blog post for The New York Times, ACA President and CEO Bill Hanvey notes that many car owners aren’t aware this data exists, let alone that they don’t have access to it—as it has been signed away as part of the contract car buyers signed with their dealership.

“We know our smartphones, Nests and Alexas collect data, and we’ve come to accept an implicit contract: We trade personal information for convenience,” Hanvey wrote. “With cars, we have no such expectation.”

And this problem can make it harder for car owners to maintain their vehicles, as third parties won’t have access to such data.

The campaign, thus far, has received a number of media notices, most notably the Times article and exposure on the sports channel FS1, thanks to the campaign’s sponsorship of a dragster vehicle driven by star racer Clay Millican. The result has led to a Change.org petition with more than 10,000 signatures since the campaign started earlier this year.

And the new collaboration could help rev up the campaign even further. Speaking to Aftermarket News, AASA President Paul McCarthy spoke of a “spirit of collaboration” between AASA and ACA on the issue of vehicle data, “putting aside individual recognition and goals for the greater good and future of the aftermarket.”

“This is a critical issue, and we are stronger together. The aftermarket must win access to data, and if you believe in free markets and consumer choice, it is right for the aftermarket to prevail,” McCarthy said.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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