Europe on the Move: Access to vehicle data legislation is urgently needed

To ensure effective market competition within the auto industry, Laurianne Krid says the European Commission must give consumers and service providers a robust regulatory framework to access vehicle data.
Laurianne Krid

By Laurianne Krid

Director General at Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Region I

07 Nov 2022

Data is central to making Europe fit for the Digital Age: how businesses, consumers, and governments access, use, and share data is at the core of digitalisation and will determine the success of the EU’s digital strategy. Digital leadership and strategic autonomy in a globalised world can only be achieved through establishing fair competition among companies and ensuring that consumers benefit from lower prices, greater choice, and better-quality goods and services.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) European Bureau welcomes the European strategy for data, looking at how we can use and share non-personalised big-data to develop new technologies and business models that create wealth for societies; the upgrade of liability and safety rules for digital platforms, services, and products, as part of the EU’s new Digital Services Act and the Data Governance Act, will boost data sharing across sectors and Member-States, increasing trust, data availability, and overcoming technical obstacles. Together with the Data Act, puts users at the centre, defining rules, and establishing rights of businesses, consumers, and governments across sectors, will create a harmonised framework for data exchanges.

The European Parliament must not allow manufacturers to monopolise control over vehicle data flows, instead must demand rules allowing fair access to vehicle data for third parties. under the strict control of consumers

However, this is not enough: sector-specific legislation must develop, adapt, and propose new and complementary elements, depending on specificities of each sector. Although a legislative proposal on “Access to vehicle data, functions, and resources” was planned this autumn, some still oppose it, this is ill-advised as sector-specific legislation is direly needed.

Given the need to ensure fair competition in repair and maintenance of expensive assets such as cars, the automotive sector has traditionally been governed by sector-specific legislation. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way we use, maintain, repair, and insure cars; however, it should not deprive consumers from controlling and managing the flows of data that they generate through the use of their vehicles.

After five years of evidence-gathering, the European Commission’s DG GROW study confirmed that vehicle manufacturers are impeding third-party operators to compete in digital services. Consequently, aiming at countering this, the Commission developed policy options and launched a public consultation about them. The responses are overwhelmingly clear.

Consumers and service providers alike need a robust regulatory framework on access to vehicle data that ensures effective market competition, innovation, and true consumer choice, and they need it now! If the Commission fails to deliver this framework, manufacturers will impose themselves, to the detriment of fair competition and in direct contradiction with the Data Act.

The European Parliament must not allow manufacturers to monopolise control over vehicle data flows, instead must demand rules allowing fair access to vehicle data for third parties, under the strict control of consumers. Any further delay in the adoption of a strong regulatory framework increases the risk of unfair practices and legal uncertainty, leaving consumers unprotected.

Digitalisation provides the automotive sector with great business opportunities, and both vehicle manufacturers and service providers should seize them. The European Parliament should make sure that consumers will benefit too.

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