EU Parliament calls for access to vehicle data for independent workshops

21 February 2018

21 February 2018

The European Parliament has urged the European Commission to adopt new legislation on access to in-vehicle data and resources in a bit to ensure access to information by independent workshops.

Currently, technicians can gain access to data stored within a vehicle’s ECU through the onboard diagnostic (OBD) port and use of specialist tools. However, manufacturers are attempting to make this harder for independent workshops, meaning they either have to buy specific equipment, or drivers will have to go to dealerships for any work to be carried out. This despite repeated calls for clarity on who owns the data.

However, the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament has now adopted its initiative report aimed at boosting the competitiveness of the European industry when it comes to cooperative, connected and automated vehicles.

In point 20 of the report, the parliament states:

′[the European Parliament] recommends that the Commission rapidly establishes an adequate legal framework to achieve EU-wide cross-border interoperability, as well as a framework laying down rules on liability for the use of the various forms of connected transport; calls on the Commission to publish a legislative proposal on access to in-vehicle data and resources by the end of the year; recommends that this proposal should allow the entire automotive value chain and users to benefit from digitalisation and guarantee a level playing field and maximum security with regard to access and storage of in-vehicle data for third parties, which should be fair, timely and unrestricted in order to protect consumer rights, promote innovation and ensure fair, non-discriminatory competition on this market in respect of the principle of technological neutrality’

The move has been welcomed by aftermarket federations across Europe. CECRA, the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs, has said it was in favour of this report which it expects will improve the quality and affordability of vehicle-related services for all European consumers. CECRA added it is going to verify whether the European Commission will take the necessary steps to fulfil the recommendation.

The UK’s Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) and FIGIEFA have welcomed the news. Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: ′This is fantastic news, and although not the end game it’s a significant step towards keeping the OBD port alive.

′The missing OBD connector would impact not just on garages but the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of consumers who would no longer have a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair. This positive step marks the next stage in our fight, and we’ll keep lobbying until we successfully reach that end game.’

The agreement will now need to be approved by the EP IMCO Committee before it is submitted for approval. If approved by the European Parliament, the new regulation will come into play from 1 September 2020.