The 11th edition of the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference took place for the first time virtually, providing its more than 200 attendees an overview on upcoming legislation, market developments, potential scenarios as well as needed competences. Presentations about the potential of new digital services and platforms provided interesting insights on the future of the sector with new business models emerging.
Even if the automotive aftermarket has been less affected by COVID-19, the transformation of the sector is already in progress. The aftermarket maintains the value of vehicles over their lifespan but is becoming an increasingly complex business challenged by new powertrain technologies, advanced driver assistance systems, new ownership models and a highly consolidating market environment. The conference showed that digitalization is happening at all levels in the value chain. While “access to in-vehicle data” is the most prominent discussion at policy level, new players are offering digital platforms to manage repair and maintenance service for consumers while others are digitizing repair work at the mechanics level.
In his opening speech, Frank Schlehuber, CLEPA senior consultant, Market Affairs, stated, “With vehicle technology getting more complex it is essential that automotive suppliers are not limited to exclusive distribution of spare parts. Today this is regulated in the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation ensuring free choice for consumers of where to get their vehicle serviced. This regulation, currently under review, should be extended beyond 2023 to avoid technical or legal restrictions limiting suppliers in the distribution of spare parts.”
Access to in-vehicle data was also discussed, with the European Commission confirming a legislative proposal is to be announced later this year. The Commission also is confident that the delegated act on access to security related repair and maintenance information, known as SERMI, will be adopted in the next weeks. In the same context a clarification on the need of an On-Board-Diagnostic interface independent from the type of powertrain will be provided.
Securing fair and equal access to data for all providers of services is essential
Access to in-vehicle data is a prerequisite for automotive suppliers to participate in the new mobility market and services. CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries said, “The upcoming legislation on access to data needs to ensure a level playing field in utilizing automotive connectivity. It is important to secure fair and equal access for all providers of services and to support creating a competitive market for the benefit and best interests of consumers.”
Insights on the future of the sector were provided with the presentation of the “Aftermarket 2030” study, commissioned by CLEPA and carried out by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Findings forecast a lower growth in the service business over the next years, mainly due to the lower maintenance cost of electric vehicles. On the other hand, safety will increase thanks to the growing spread of driver assistance systems that will reduce the accident rate by between 10-20% percent by 2030.
Forecasts show lower growth in the service business, but an increase on safety
Other topics covered were the relevance of resilience to navigate through volatile times with practical hints on achieving individual resilience but also highlighting the impact of resilience on the success of organizations.
Sustainability was confirmed as one of the most relevant topics for the aftermarket of the future. Parts distributors and suppliers are committed to exploring this topic further as a joint initiative to develop common definitions resulting in sustainability pledges and activities at company level to reduce CO2 in the supply chain.
Several examples made transparent how digitalization is already transforming the aftermarket. A platform bringing consumers and workshops together was introduced as well as a cloud solution enabling new services. A common theme in the presentations on the evolving ecosystem of telematics services was that ability to enter collaboration models is crucial for businesses during the digitalization process.
The next edition, also virtual, of the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference is planned for Nov. 25, with a special focus on sustainability and circular economy.