Lowe told the committee that, “While the advent of telematics on late-model vehicles has the potential to provide significant benefits to consumers regarding how their vehicle is serviced, it also has the potential to unnecessarily distort the market, providing extensive control to the vehicle manufacturer on where and how car owners obtain repairs, ultimately disrupting the current competitive landscape for vehicle repair to the detriment of small business and consumers.
“Specifically, armed with the extensive data about a customer’s vehicle combined with the means to communicate directly with the driver in real time, the vehicle manufacturer has the ability to steer the motorists to the dealership or to a service establishment that may be a strong purchaser of their parts and information. This situation represents a major change in the repair marketplace.”
Lowe called for manufacturers to provide more transparency and control to consumers, regarding the data that is being sent by the car. He further urged the car companies to work with third parties to develop a method that permits data from embedded systems to be shared with responsible entities who the car owner is aware of.
“The auto care industry fully supports the advances in technology brought about by the increasingly connected vehicle,” Lowe said in his testimony. “However, it is important these advances are not hamstrung by the vehicle manufacturer drive to increase their service dollars after the vehicle is on the road. In fact, providing more choices to motorists will result in more competition, increased innovation and ultimately better service for car owners at more affordable prices.”
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