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EU vision on access to in-vehicle data is key

The automotive high-level group ‘Gear 2030’ – bringing together the whole European automotive sector and several European and national policy makers – has adopted an official report summarizing the vision of all stakeholders and indicating the areas where EU policy initiative is needed.

Yesterday (October 18th.) on the occasion of the final meeting of the high-level group, and after two years of intensive work, the European Commission has finally adopted the awaited Gear 2030 report on the future of the European automotive value chain. CECRA, having participated to the complete exercise with the aim of promoting the standpoint of automotive retail and repair industry, is satisfied with the text adopted.

This report is a thorough analysis of the main trends that are hitting every single player in the European automotive value chain. Some of these trends (such as digitization, changes in customers’ behavior, the increasing presence of new entrants, OEMs direct sales, connectivity, new mobility concepts) are going to put the auto dealers’ and repairers’ business model under serious pressure. The report also contains a list of policy recommendations aimed at orienting the work of the European Commission in the months and years to come.

In this context, the issue of access to vehicle data is crucial. CECRA is happy to see that together with other European associations, it could convince the European Commission and the other stakeholders about the necessary balance between the various interests on this very sensitive topic.

The key recommendation on this issue reads as follows in Gear 2030 final report: “The European Commission should assess the need to update to technological progress existing legislation and analyse to which extent it allows the entire automotive value chain and end users to benefit from the opportunities of digitization.  The European Commission should assess whether additional sector specific legislation, relating to data, is needed.”

CECRA considers the inclusion of this sentence in the official report as an important milestone in its way towards the adoption of an EU legal framework mandating OMEs to provide access to vehicle generated data.

While taking the floor, on the occasion of the final remarks, CECRA’s President Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt has said: “we all know that this is not the end of the story, and that there will be several steps before our goal will be achieved, but let me be clear:  an on-board application platform  is the only solution that fulfills the data-access requirements of dealers and repairers”.

The European automotive dealers and repairers coherently with their status of SMEs, are constantly striving to provide their customers with the best and most innovative solutions. But to offer innovative solutions significant investments are needed, and right now, due to the uncertainties over the level of access that they are going to get from connected vehicles, most of European dealers and repairers are afraid of losing their investments.

CECRA is of the opinion that the European Commission should reassure companies that are ready to invest locally to be able to provide data-based services. To make this possible the only option is the adoption of a robust regulatory framework at European level for a standardized, inter-operable in-vehicle telematics platform ensuring safety of course, but also fair competition, independent entrepreneurship, innovation and liberty of choice for the consumer.