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Strengthening the Aftermarket with Technical Data

The German trade magazine »kfz-betrieb« and the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK) organised an event for owners and managers of independent workshops, “Fachtagung Freie Werkstätten”, in Würzburg on 14 October 2023.

Tobias Roth, Vice President Information Management at TecAlliance, spoke at the panel discussion about the importance of technical data or repair and maintenance information for the independent market and the current developments at EU level with regard to cooperation with vehicle manufacturers. At our exhibition stand, we showed how our TecRMI solution and the TecRMI Service Book make the work of independent workshops much easier.

More than 350 participants came to Würzburg to get valuable tips and suggestions for their own operations in practical presentations, panel discussions and live demonstrations under the guiding theme “The seven biggest challenges for automotive businesses and how to tackle them”. For over 30 years this conference has been addressing the problems, concerns and hardships of the independent automotive aftermarket and has developed into a unique forum for independent workshops.

Challenges in accessing vehicle information

During the panel discussion, Tobias Roth, Michael Köhrmann (repair-pedia), Konstantinos Silaidos (Alldata) and Siegfried Trede (DAT) answered the questions of “kfz-betrieb” editor Steffen Dominsky on the topic of technical data and repair and maintenance information. Access to this data is essential for independent workshops and therefore also a recurring topic at EU level.

“The EU is trying to strengthen competition between vehicle manufacturers and the independent aftermarket, but unfortunately the reality still looks somewhat different. The laws and regulations leave room for interpretation and the vehicle manufacturers partly ignore the decisions of the EU. For example, content sometimes ‘disappears’ from the information portals provided by some vehicle manufacturers. The increasingly necessary diagnostic information, for instance, will then only be available in the vehicle manufacturers’ diagnostic devices. This is a big challenge for us as a supplier of technical data and information.”

Tobias Roth, Vice President Information Management

Association activities lead to success

ADPA, the European Association of Independent Publishers of Automotive Data, aims to ensure fair access to automotive data and information and to create a competitive environment for independent publishers of technical data. TecAlliance is a member of ADPA and Ralf Pelkmann, Executive Vice President Information Management, is President of the association.

A judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 5 October 2023 could be a milestone in removing anti-competitive barriers imposed by vehicle manufacturers. This judgement builds on the law case that ADPA and the GVA, the industry association representing interests of the independent automotive parts wholesaler in Germany, also obtained from the European Court of Justice last year (C390/21). It underlines once more that vehicle manufacturers have to let independent operators not only access, but also process and use technical information. In addition, vehicle manufacturers cannot impose other conditions than the ones expressly mentioned in Type-Approval Regulation 2018/858 for such access.

“With this judgment, the ECJ secures undiscriminated access to in-vehicle technical information for legitimate operators, and therefore fairer competition in the automotive aftermarket. It benefits our entire ecosystem and, beyond, end-consumers, who will continue to have a real choice of where to get their vehicle properly serviced with competitive and innovative solutions.”

Ralf Pelkmann, Executive Vice President Information Management

Great interest in data solutions for independent workshops

We were also represented with a stand in the exhibition area of the “Fachtagung Freie Werkstätten”. TecRMI Sales Managers Bastian Münch and Kevin Gerbig showed the numerous visitors how the repair and maintenance information, which is obtained and standardised directly from the vehicle manufacturers, is used in the TecRMI solution.

The vehicle information, VIN, main and additional works as well as the used parts are transferred directly from TecRMI Online for the digital service book entry. The workshop only has to enter additional information required by individual manufacturers, such as the engine oil used or the tread depth of the tyres.

Overall, the conference for independent workshops and service companies was a great success. It became clear that the operators of independent workshops are very interested in innovative solutions and possibilities for increasing efficiency and optimising workshop processes. In addition to pure information, the focus was also on personal exchange.

Header Image ©Stefan Bausewein, kfz-betrieb