RW Exclusive: Zubie CEO Discusses Telematics Partnership with RepairPal

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June 8, 2017—Zubie, a connected car platform and telematics provider, took a step toward connecting cars with repair shops through a partnership with RepairPal. Through the integration, users of the Zubie app will have access to what the "check engine light" is indicating and what action to take. The app will include a list of RepairPal Certified shops in the area, making it simpler to quickly schedule an appointment.

Zubie CEO Gary Tucker spoke with Ratchet+Wrench about the partnership and how it could represent a huge step toward integrating telematics with independent repair shops.

What is the goal of the Zubie-RepairPal partnership?

We’re trying to demystify that check engine light for the consumer. We can present to consumer the cause for the light coming on; we can see the fault codes in that car. And through our partnership with RepairPal, we can decode them and present them to the consumer the cause of the the light coming on. We can give them a severity level. We can even identify the most likely repairs and the cost of those repairs and point them to a shop that can complete the repair. It's an unprecedented level of transparency to the consumer.

What does the partnership allow Zubie to do that it couldn't do before?

What we're able to do with Repair Pal is two things:

  1. We're able to leverage their understanding of the fault code definitions and the severity ratings. They have some really smart information around what those fault codes indicate by make, model and year. Then we're also able to leverage the RepairPal pricing transparency by showing the consumer, "This repair typically costs $100."
  2. Another aspect with RepairPal we couldn't do on our own was connect consumers to a certified RepairPal shop. What RepairPal wasn't able to do before was get in that customer's car and help identify the root cause of the problem on a specific level. And that's the power of us working together on this.

In a previous conversation with Ratchet+Wrench, you mentioned how Zubie was looking to get more involved with independent repair shops when it came to telematics. So is this a step toward that?

It's a giant step toward that. It's a material demonstration to the market as to what telematics can do to connect a car and a customer with a specific problem to a repair shop that can fix that problem. It's that connective tissue that's the tip of the sphere of the customer relationship that makes us very unique. I think the RepairPal integration clearly demonstrates the opportunity that exists for telematics to be that connective tissue.

How can shops best utilize this partnership?

What I think you'll see is the progressive shops are going to take a firsthand role in the installation of the device. Because they're going to see the benefit they have in getting customers to show up at their shops informed about what problem they have, what that repair might cost, and ready to address it.

So we’re at the very beginning stages of connecting telematics with independent repair shops, where they're uniquely positioned to lead the way in retrofit telematics, as opposed to letting the franchise or OEM take hold first. I think this positions a progressive independent shop to say, “Hey, it's helpful to us and our customers.”

There are a lot of players in the telematics arena, but one of our most recent stories found that many shops have yet to utilize the technology. Do you RepairPal getting involved will change the mentality?

I think it's huge. I think we're going to get the repair shops to take a closer look at what telematics technology has to offer and can do to strengthen their consumer relationships. So we're excited to work with RepairPal and bring it all together for the marketplace.


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