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February 2017

ACEA Conference: EGEA and “Independents” to protect free competition in the industry

Massimo Brunamonti

ACEA presented its proposal for the so-called "Extended Vehicle", which plans to channel all communications and data via servers owned by the manufacturer of the vehicle in order to guarantee upgradeability, accessibility, data security and privacy protection. According to EGEA as well as others, this could be a dangerous instrument to be used by vehicle manufacturers to gain an unfair advantage over the market.
During a conference organized on December 1, 2016 by ACEA (European Association of Automobile Manufacturers) and CLEPA (Association of first-tier parts suppliers), with the presence of some EU members, ACEA presented its proposal for the so-called "Extended Vehicle". The proposal, recently signed in Germany by important spare parts producers, plans to channel all communications and data via servers owned by the manufacturer of the vehicle in order to guarantee upgradeability, accessibility, data security and privacy protection; the consequence of such a solution, though,  would be that of limiting, if not closing completely, any direct connection to the vehicle through its OBD interface.
ACEA’s approach inevitably met with much heated opposition, especially from operators in the independent sector including spare parts dealers, garages, insurers and, not least, EGEA (European Garage Equipment Association) all demanding the opportunity to have free access to data on a competitive basis to offer their services for the benefit of the end-users. ACEA’s proposal appears to EGEA as well as others, a dangerous instrument to be used by vehicle manufacturers to gain an unfair advantage, if not a monopoly, over the market. ACEA underlines the need for privacy protection, but similar reasons as the ones proposed by ACEA can easily point to other equally if not more effective solutions but, as it happens, not under the manufacturer’s control. An example is the standard interoperable platform, promoted by AFCAR, and currently the object of in-depth study by the European Commission.
Given the rather alarming situation threatening the whole sector, EGEA saw fit to quickly forge a coalition with other  associations such as ADPA (Association of Data Publishers), CECRA (European Council for Motor Trades and Repair) FIA (International Automobile Federation), FIGIEFA (independent Automotive Aftermarket Distributors), Insurance Europe (European insurance and reinsurance federation) and Leaseurope (European Federation of Leasing Company Associations). The alliance obviously supports AFCAR’s solution for an interoperable, standardized platform which was proven to be more practical and functional.
 





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