CLEPA Newsletter Editorial March 2019: The automotive aftermarket, too, gets ready for the new mobility trends

The impact of vehicle technology trends like electrification, connectivity and autonomous driving has reached the traditionally very stable Automotive Aftermarket. Evidence of this, as well as the implications for business, were discussed in-depth during the 10th CLEPA Aftermarket Conference, held this week in Brussels.


While automation is still a few years away from being relevant for business, electrification and connectivity have started to reshape the Aftermarket from a repair and maintenance business to a service business over the lifetime of vehicles. The latest CO2 reduction targets of the European Commission for the years 2025 and 2030 will trigger a substantial increase in battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plugin hybrids (PHEV).


Especially the strong growth of BEVs will lead to a stagnating or even declining market for traditional wear and tear parts in mature markets. In combination with the ongoing consolidation of the wholesale distribution and the initiatives of vehicle manufacturers to either invest in the independent aftermarket or to increase significantly their share in the services market, adds further cost pressure on suppliers.


At the same time, connectivity of vehicles and the utilisation of vehicle-generated data will provide the opportunity for new service businesses. A fundamental prerequisite to participate in this new emerging mobility market is the fair, undistorted, unmonitored and competitive access to in-vehicle data, of course with consumer consent. The way in which connectivity or, more specifically, the communication from and to a vehicle is realised, has a major impact on the competitiveness of market participants and the speed of development and implementation of innovative mobility services.


Driven by the mandatory eCall regulation, connectivity in new vehicles has now become standard. For the entire data transfer from and to vehicles only solutions routing all data traffic via proprietary back-end servers are supported by vehicle manufacturers. Although there is a general willingness to make data available for third parties, the role of the vehicle manufacturer as a gatekeeper and a potential competitor is seen very critical by many stakeholders. In the interest of maintaining a level playing field while utilising the innovation power of many creative players for new mobility services, a timely solution for fair access to in-vehicle data is crucial.


With the new type approval requirements published in 2018, EU legislators have strengthened the independent aftermarket by securing access to electronically processable vehicle equipment information as well as securing the on-board-diagnostics functionality. With the upcoming revision of the motor vehicle bloc exemption regulation (MVBER) beyond 2023 and the revision of the repair clause, the European Commission has opened discussions that will be crucial for the future of the independent aftermarket.


To secure consumer choice in vehicle maintenance, it will not be enough to grant the right to suppliers to put their logo on their products and to be free to sell the parts without restriction. It will be also necessary to ensure that automotive spare parts can be replaced or fitted by all market players even if additional tools, software or authorisation are technically required.



Frank Schlehuber. Senior Advisor Market Affairs


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