The rising flood of data that Internet-connected cars and trucks generate is a new element of a long-standing battle between automakers and aftermarket parts suppliers and repair shops over access to vehicle information.
The dispute in this case is whether — assuming vehicle owners give their permission — car companies should be required to furnish the aftermarket industry with access to telematics and related data, instead of limiting it to their own suppliers and franchised dealerships.
Aftermarket providers say such access is essential if they are to properly repair high-tech parts in connected vehicles. The issues are reminiscent of earlier conflicts between automakers and aftermarket shops over items such as specialized tooling and diagnostic computers, and between automakers and aftermarket parts makers over parts design.
Groups that represent automakers say the companies worry about sharing data because of concerns over cybersecurity and the quality of aftermarket service and parts. At the same time, automakers are working on ways to monetize the data at issue and to navigate new consumer privacy laws.
For example, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers warns that the new California Consumer Privacy Act (see story below) could require automakers "to divulge trade secrets when disclosing the specific pieces of information collected by highly automated vehicle systems or other connected vehicle technologies."