Survey Reveals Consumers Want Vehicle Data

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Consumers want access to their vehicle’s data, however, nearly three in four consumers are unfamiliar with the concept of vehicle telematics, according to a survey conducted by the Auto Care Association (ACA). It’s been roughly three years since the ACA surveyed how customers view vehicle electronics, and, put simply, customer’s lack of knowledge speaks volumes, according to the association.

“I think customers are a little bit more upset about the fact that data is going to their vehicles and they didn’t know about it,” said Aaron Lowe, senior vice president of regulatory and government affairs at ACA. “What was interesting is the fact that customers want to be able to decide where it goes, not told with [whom information] should go to.

“Consumers really want choices in where they get their vehicles repaired.”

The 20-question survey was conducted by Ipsos, a global independent market research company, and sent out to 4,500 vehicle owners over the age of 18. Survey results were announced in mid October.

“These results should be a wake-up call to automakers,” said Bill Hanvey, the president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, in a press release. “At a time when Americans don’t see eye to eye on many issues, the results of this survey revealed a large majority of consumers support their right to gain full access to their vehicle data.”

From customers’ prior knowledge of vehicle telematics to their trust in electronics, here’s a breakdown of what the ACA survey revealed, and what it could mean for the industry going forward.


A Steady Rhythm

First conducted nearly three years ago, the survey was created as a way to understand what customers know regarding their vehicle’s collection of data.

“There’s a growing number of vehicles sold today that are connected and data is now flowing from the vehicles to only the vehicle manufacturers,” Lowe says. The “market predicts that by 2021, 90 percent of the new cars will come connected with technology, so our concern is that all of that data is not available to the independent repair market and the consumers have no control over where that data goes.”

Lowe says the ACA’s goal is to bring competition back into the market.

“The survey was developed because we really wanted to find out a base point of what [car owners’] awareness was of telematics, what their views are on [vehicle] data at this point, and how they view the importance of competition services,” Lowe says. “We developed the survey to come up with a baseline and understand where the car owner was at this point, and this is actually really the second time that we’ve done this, and we were also gauging how this has changed in the last couple of years.”


Customers Are Unfamiliar with Telematics

As vehicle technology continues to improve each year, the amount of vehicle data continues to expand as well. Following the survey, it was discovered that nearly 75 percent of participants weren’t aware of vehicle telematics.

“Coming out of the survey, 88 percent [of car owners] think they should control who has access to their data, and if you think of our current political environment—that’s pretty amazing,” said Kirsten Zaremba, senior director of marketing for ACA.

According to the ACA’s press release, once participants were told the definition of telematics, nearly, “63 percent of respondents still said they were not very or not at all familiar with telematics.”


Customers Believe They Own Vehicle Data

Following the survey, results revealed that 71 percent of respondents incorrectly believe that the owner of a vehicle has access to its data and driver information.

“I think [customers] are a little bit more upset about the fact that the data is going from their  vehicles and they didn’t know about it,” Lowe says. “What was really interesting and hasn’t changed is that car owners want to be able to decide where their data goes and they would like to be able to send it to who they want to do business with, not being told who to do business with; I think that’s the key aspect of the survey: the car owner needs to be the gatekeeper for the data, and not the manufacturer.”

Today, vehicle information is only handled by vehicle manufacturers. According to Lowe, if customers were in charge of their vehicle’s data, the scenario would be a lot different.

“If the data is available, it will make getting your vehicle repaired a lot more efficient,” Lowe says. “The car sends the signal remotely that it has an issue, the shop can then have the parts, the tools ready when that car comes into the shop and repair the vehicle much faster; if the shop has faster throughput, the car owner gets the car back faster, so all the way up the supply chain there’s a huge amount of efficiencies that can be gained by having that data available, and it could have huge impact.”

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