IAAF Campaigns for fair access to in-vehicle data

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, IAAF, has added its voice to a large coalition representing the automotive aftermarket in Europe, including FIGIEFA, which is calling on the European Union to take on board a proposal for a Secure On-board Telematics Platform (S-OTP) – which will allow access for independent service providers.

Following the UK’s withdrawal of the EU, the IAAF is working alongside other federations in bringing the campaign to the attention of the UK government.

The intention of the S-OTP is to ensure that motorists can still choose their service providers, many of them SMEs, to benefit from innovative, competitive and affordable services and products. To do so, service providers have to be able to compete with all stakeholders, some of whom might be tempted to act as “gatekeepers” through proprietary access methods to in-vehicle data.

FIGIEFA said it is the only solution guaranteeing true consumer choice, effective competition and independent entrepreneurship in a secure and technology-neutral manner.

In the detailed document, publishers of technical information, body repairers, dealers and workshops, garage equipment suppliers, tyre manufacturers, recovery companies, parts distributors and leasing companies, as well as consumers, provide technical and commercial arguments supporting their recommendation.

With the advent of the connected car, competition now starts in the vehicle where the ability to safely and securely access car data, functions and resources determines the quality of the service.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “For many years now, it has been proven that a standardised interoperable telematics platform can be safe, robust and secure. IAAF
will continue to campaign and lobby the UK government, highlighting that the current in-vehicle access platforms – controlled and operated by the vehicle manufacturers – restricts businesses from embracing digital opportunities, and jeopardises consumer choice, innovation and a growing economy.”

IAAF Conference: Gearing up for Change

The IAAF Conference took place last month and highlighted the massive technology-led transformation in the global automotive industry and how every business in the independent aftermarket can take full advantage.

The Federation highlighted how technology had dominated its work in 2019, from a Counterfeit Parts Campaign to Cyber Security, and outlined the work FIGIEFA was doing in securing fair vehicle digitalisation opportunities along with other technology-led work on Extended Vehicle1 and SERMI2:

1: Extended vehicle is a structure which enables secure access to vehicle data via an off-board facility, in accordance with clearly defined technical, data protection and competition rules.

2: The process by which independent garages, who can meet the strict requirements of the scheme, will be accredited to access all areas of manufacturer technical information, including data related to the security of the vehicle.

“Vehicles are like computers on wheels and we are seeing them becoming increasingly more connected and sophisticated,” stated IAAF chief executive Wendy Williamson. “As an industry, we need to steer the supply chain in the right direction to ensure we’re on track to tackle the challenges we face head on and ensure we are equipped with the tools and know-how to be able to continue to service and maintain the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Williamson stressed the importance of being able to compete fairly and safely in an open market, while ensuring the motorist continues to have the right to choose where they take their vehicle.


Dean Lander from Thatcham, established by the motor insurance industry to maintain car safety standards, discussed the growth of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), reiterating the need for garages to have greater access to ever-changing technology in order to avoid handing over all power to vehicle manufacturers. Lander urged the industry to recognise that autonomous vehicles are already a reality and that change is inevitable.

The conference keynote speaker, Richard Noble, spoke of how he fulfilled his life-long mission to build the world’s first supersonic car and going on to break the land-speed record. In the process, Noble used his experience and network of contacts to set up the largest STEM programme in the UK, directly targeting the next generation and engaging with more than 129,000 schoolchildren.

Mike Smallbone, Head of Membership Development, summarised the body’s activities over the past year, including its ‘Your Car – Your Choice’ campaign. The pilot project in Chesterfield had been instrumental in the automotive aftermarket winning business from main dealers, as independent garages felt more confident in the greater use of OE-quality parts.

Neil Pattemore from FIGIEFA, the industry’s European federation and political representative, rounded off the event with a presentation on the immediate threats affecting the industry, such as protecting Block Exemption, the risks surrounding the extended vehicle and the importance of cyber security.

Wendy Williamson had the final say: “It’s a challenging but also exciting time to be in the aftermarket, and we will need to all work together to ensure we can not only adapt to the challenges that we face, but also maximise the enormous potential in front of us. However, if we’re to continue to thrive, the time for change is now.”

Counterfeit car parts

The rise of counterfeit car parts and the IAAF’s role in countering this threat has featured in the latest Annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report: 2018 to 2019. 

The aftermarket body actively participated in last year’s IPO anti-counterfeiting campaign with Chief Executive Wendy Williamson presenting the challenges facing the sector at a Counterfeit Awareness 2019 conference in July. 

The 132-page report says: “Preventing counterfeiting and piracy isn’t just about protecting the innocent from criminals, it’s about maintaining the credibility of legitimate trade. Counterfeit car parts can affect both Original Equipment Manufacturers and aftermarket businesses alike. Counterfeiters are becoming more skilled in making fake parts, with packaging that looks identical to genuine ones. 

“Whilst parts might look the same, they are unlikely to perform to the same standard and in many cases, the counterfeits are produced using dangerous and substandard materials, which have not been properly tested.” 

The latest figures show an increase in the global trade of fake vehicle-related parts, which is now worth $10 billion.  Fraudulent products being sold online is a trend that is increasing in line with the growth of internet sales. The IAAF says when purchasing parts online, it is crucial that people know who they are buying their parts from. Reputable suppliers will have a certificate of OE matching quality that they will be able to provide customers with. 

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief executive said: “It is important, now more than ever, that suppliers, distributors and garages are aware of the origin of the parts they are using. We look forward to carrying on working with the IPO and other partners to keep raising awareness in the supply chain and to consumers, and to encourage reporting of counterfeit goods.” 

Counterfeit parts guidance is available on the IPO’s website www.ipo.gov.uk 

IAAF joins forces with IPO for Counterfeit Awareness 2019

Wendy Williamson, Chief Executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has lent further support in the fight against fake goods, when she attended Counterfeit Awareness 2019 in Bristol on July 4, in conjunction with IPO.

The event, promoted by MoD Counterfeit Avoidance Working Group (CAWG), provided an ideal opportunity to learn how MoD and its suppliers tackle not just counterfeiting but substandard parts in the defence industry. The event was attended by over 200 people, with the focus very much on counterfeit avoidance within the supply chain, quality and standards and dealing with the fallout when parts enter the legitimate supply chain.

Williamson delivered a joint presentation with Helen Barnham from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on Counterfeit in the automotive aftermarket – Safety risks and challenges, which was well received by delegates.

She gave an overview of the IAAF’s activity over the last 12 months in support of the IPO’s campaign, as well as demonstrating a number of examples of counterfeit parts from across the automotive sector and the potential issues they can cause.

The audience also got to hear how much of a widespread problem counterfeit is and is not just restricted to product such as braking, lighting, bearings and spark plugs. Williamson highlighted the increasing difficulty in identifying fake parts, with far reaching consequences of handling such products. Besides “invalidating your warranty”, Williamson stated, “counterfeiting is not safe as the products have not been properly tested and are unlikely to perform as they should, which will potentially cost lives.”

She then underlined to delegates the three key factors to remember when buying product: quality, traceability and accountability. Williamson finished her speech by warning: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”, and that “it is important, now more than ever, that suppliers, distributors and garages are aware of the origin of the parts they are using.”

Dr Ros Lynch, IPO Director of Copyright and Enforcement, said: “Collaboration with industry and other government departments is key in the fight against IP crime.

“An integral part of our role is working with organisations such as the IAAF to raise awareness of the dangers and often hidden consequences of counterfeit products. It is important that we continue to support such events.”

Top tips are available on the IPO’s website www.ipo.gov.uk, which gives counterfeit parts guidance to consumers to help them make the right choice.

Preparing for the digital revolution

Wendy Williamson, chief executive of the IAAF (Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation), detailed the challenges faced by the aftermarket in the digital era at Automechanika Birmingham last month. Autotechnician spoke to Wendy about the ongoing battles in Brussels to support free access to vital vehicle data in a digital age and opportunities that evolving technologies present.

All modern vehicles have telematic capabilities in varying degrees; cars of today are basically computers on wheels. IAAF’s Wendy Williamson tells us: “We are living in a world today where a black box knows where you are going, what speed you are driving… it’s very much a case of ‘Big Brother is watching you’ already. We are going to see those levels of connectivity increase even further, which will have an implication for the aftermarket. So, we need to make sure we are geared up for the future.” 

On the technological front – everyone’s familiar with the demise of the internal combustion engine and the growing popularity of alternatively-fuelled vehicles and we need to be prepared for this. “The Jaguar i-Pace is a game changer, with a range of 300+miles,” Wendy believes, “although there’s a huge amount that needs to be done with infrastructure.”We talk about the advancement in charging and Wendy cites an Australian company who are driving the technology forward by enabling a fast charge in just ten minutes. “The advance of vehicle techology in the past 20 or so years is breathtaking when you look back. When I had my dear old Mini years ago, I would never have dreamt we’d have power steering, ABS braking, cruise control…now we have drowsiness sensors! Also, the EU have just introduced an alcohol test so that if you get in the car and put your hands on the steering wheel and you’ve had one too many the car won’t start!” 

“All of these are great safety features but we need to make sure we continue to be able to repair vehicles and the VMs see the Extended Vehicle as the fairest route to repair vehicles in the future but it relies on their servers, their interfaces, their tools and permissions… If we allowed that to happen, we would totally lose unmonitored access to the vehicle.” I ask Wendy where we are in terms of challenging the VMs on this and she explains how FIGIEFA were asked by the EU commission to conduct testing, as part of the investigation of the VMs Extended Vehicle (ExVe) concept using the EGR valve as a working example. The objective was to test how independent operators can receive relevant real-time data related to the valve, perform a remote diagnostic test routine, and also carry out a remote temporary repair. The results are now with the commission and should expose the technical limits of the concept and bias towards the VM networks. Wendy praises FIGIEFA, “I cannot underestimate how important FIGIEFA is and the work it does in Brussels. They’re a small team but they do a great job of representing us throughout Europe and we’ll continue to be involved post-Brexit. It’s the only way we’ll have the UK represented.” 


“Some of the VMS have already closed the OBD port on current production models… that’s clearly in breach of the Type Approval legislation. Workshops would need to get a certificate from the vehicle manufacturer, which would then give you a code to get you into the vehicle. But then of course, it’s up to them and they’ll know who they have given security clearance to, where and on what vehicle. It’s all about [having] unmonitored access.” 

“We have changing vehicles and technological challenges, so we need legislation, we need Type-Approval and we need to have an alternative to the Extended Vehicle and the on-board telematics platform is still our goal. The most relative alternative is a neutral server to provide unmonitored access.” 

“Block exemption ends in 2023 [legislation that enables independent garages to service cars within the warranty period, as long as OE quality parts are used and VM service schedules adhered to]. We’ve already submitted a roadmap to the commission – we’re really pushing for the same rights we enjoy under existing Block Exemption. If the VMs can remotely repair vehicles, you as a driver should have the ability to say that you want your independent garage to do it.”The IAAF has been keen to promote its ‘Your Car, Your Choice campaign’ this year to inform motorists that they can take their vehicle, from day one, anywhere for servicing without invalidating
the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty. Find out more at www.yourcaryourchoice.co.uk. 

It’s not just technology that is changing the way we repair vehicles, we’re also facing lifestyle changes, where future mobility is likely to involve cars becoming a service rather than a commodity, as people move away from the ownership of cars, and their associated maintenance and repair, towards subscription services. 

On my travels, I have had many discussions with garage owners and technicians about trade bodies – many of which directly benefit from memberships, but a handful have begun the conversation by saying ‘What do they actually do for me?’ Our trade associations are full of passionate people who have been involved in the industry for decades, many of which started out on the tools themselves. Much of their work goes on behind the scenes to promote an level playing field with the vehicle manufacturers and dealer networks, that frameworks are put in place so technicians are kept safe working on the latest technologies and relevant accredited training is created to ensure independents remain competitive. I urge you to research the industry’s trade bodies to understand how they could benefit you. 

Automotive industry comes together

More than 10,000 visitors are said to have attended last month’s Automechanika Birmingham event, reporting its new Garage Quarter as a major draw for independent workshops. Autotechnician hosted Technical Talks within the Workshop Training Hub, delivering presentations on the latest technology and workshop opportunities from the likes of Castrol UK, Delphi Technologies, ACtronics, Ecobat Technologies and Elta Automotive, as well as diagnostic advice from James Dillon, Andy Crook and Frank Massey.

The event featured 500 exhibitors from 26 countries, covering a total floor space of 9,400 square metres. It returns to the NEC again in 2019, before moving biennially to alternate with Automechanika Frankfurt.

Simon Albert, Managing Director, Automechanika Birmingham, said: “It’s been a fantastic event and has further developed the identity of Automechanika Birmingham going forward, underlining our commitment to unite the entire automotive industry.”

Wendy Williamson, chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), provided an insight into the future of the automotive aftermarket. Her presentation covered the changing face of UK parts distribution and legislation. Williamson also noted how lifestyle changes will affect the trade in the future, saying: “Ownership of vehicles will change; renting vehicles by the day or even the hour will become more popular, particular among the younger generation.”

The speech revisited Type Approval, an ongoing theme of IAAF’s lobbying activities for the past three years. Williamson said IAAF has “fought hard to ensure a number of key amendments were included in the final legislation,” which was approved last month by the European Parliament.

Brexit was also a key issue, with Williamson reminding delegates that all EU legislation will be adopted in the UK as of March next year, but as Type Approval legislation doesn’t take effect until September 2020, “it now throws up a question of where this legislation now sits.”

Williamson concluded: “We as a sector need to ensure we keep up to date with the times. We must continue to invest in tools, equipment, people and of course training to ensure we’re able to cope with the myriad changes that are taking place in the automotive industry. We have a reputation for finding a way through – the threats are more complex but we’re certainly up for the challenge.”

Autotechnician filmed the first day of the show and spoke to several suppliers, trade bodies and visitors about pertinent issues, new equipment and support available. Head to our Facebook page, YouTube channel to see what they had to say.

Proposed EU legislation protects OBD port

The IAAF and FIGIEFA welcomes crucial provisions on the OBD connector and access to repair data included in proposed EU legislation on Vehicle Type-Approval Regulation, stating this represents
a huge step forward regarding access to in- vehicle data.

The EU Council’s main preparatory body, COREPER, recognised the need for the independent automotive aftermarket to maintain access to diagnostic and repair/maintenance-related information (RMI). It also clarified that access will be granted whilst the vehicle is in motion – essential when performing diagnostic, repair and maintenance services, until a solution is found for independent operators to have telematics access to the ‘Connected Car’.

However, whilst it has been clarified that the OBD port shall remain open while the vehicle is in motion, some vehicle manufacturers have started to introduce new measures, preventing access of independent operators to the OBD port; the new Fiat 500 being one such example.

FIGIEFA’s aim is to ensure that aftermarket access to in-vehicle data remains not only possible, but in a useable format, stating that aftermarket access to in- vehicle data will contribute to effective competition, offering motorists freedom of choice in the aftermarket care of their vehicles.

“The new vehicle Type- Approval and its RMI legislation, once approved, will represent a step forward,” says FIGIEFA president Hartmut Röhl, “However, the EU Commission must now find a solution on how to address the telematics access to the ‘Connected Car’, and we call upon it to start working in 2018 on the interoperable, standardised, secure and open-access platform.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, comments: “This is fantastic news and although not the end game, it’s a significant step towards keeping the OBD port alive.

“The missing OBD connector would impact not just on garages but the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of consumers who would no longer have a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair. This positive step marks the next stage in our fight and we’ll keep lobbying until we successfully reach that end game.”

If approved, the new regulation will come into play from September 2020.

IAAF Conference – The ongoing battle to save the OBD Port

The IAAF Annual Conference addressed some of the major issues predicted to impact our industry in 2018 and beyond, including global influences, technical threats, rapidly evolving technology and Brexit. The emergence of the ‘Connected Vehicle’ raises the issue of data ownership, and lifestyle changes leading to car rental/sharing and the increasing use of e-hailing with the likes of Uber, are changing the automotive aftermarket landscape significantly. The trend towards autonomous vehicles is gaining momentum, and the latest car registration stats show a steady rise in hybrid and electric vehicle sales.
The lacking EV infrastructure is something the UK needs to address and, critically, training in the repair of these vehicles. Our industry may be on the verge of a major shift – the likes of which we have not seen before – with technology driving many changes directly affecting the way in which vehicles can be diagnosed and repaired. We’ll look at each of these areas in detail in the coming issues. Here’s a taster of what was discussed at the IAAF Conference in December…

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, noted the ongoing discussions in Brussels regarding Type Approval legislation. To understand the gravity of the situation, she reminded the conference that the Vehicle Manufacturers have 134 dedicated lobbyists at the EU promoting their interests, against a handful of dedicated aftermarket groups and representatives. Technicians are fully aware of the importance of an accessible OBD port but, if the radical changes proposed by Type Approval legislation go ahead, independent garages will no longer have unmonitored access to the OBD connector; it could be controlled entirely by the VM through remote diagnostics performed with the use of their servers. Wendy warned, “The OBD port on the new Fiat 500 has been closed off and the next generation of Golfs and BMWs are going the same way.” The aftermarket has had its work cut out in Brussels to protect the OBD port and ensure repair information remains available and in an electronic format, see page 4 for news of the latest victory.

Wendy reiterated the ongoing struggle the aftermarket faces with reference to the ‘Connected Car’, warning, “The VMs have a vision that all access to the vehicle will be through their servers, using their tools and, I guess the logical conclusion eventually will be, using their parts – threatening the livelihood of the independent aftermarket, as we could lose all unmonitored access to the vehicle, receiving the information in a format and timeframe which is down to them. We could be left in a world where the VMs know what we do, to which vehicle, when and even where”.

This would restrict consumer choice as to where a motorist can professionally get their vehicle maintained and repaired, an issue the IAAF has challenged for some time now with its Right2Choose campaign. This aims to educate motorists of their right to choose either a franchised dealer, autocentre or independent workshop to undertake repair and maintenance work with a vehicle under warranty. Providing parts and fluids of Original Equipment quality have been used in accordance with the manufacturer’s service schedule, a warranty will not be invalidated – how many of your customers know this?

“As an industry, we will continue to face many challenges on different fronts, and we will encounter more complex threats. However, we are prepared, and the future is bright despite the challenges we face. What we do know is that IAAF will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of its members to secure that future.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive

IAAF and FIGIEFA delighted with provisional Type-Approval legislation

The IAAF and FIGIEFA have welcomed the news that crucial provisions on the OBD connector and access to RMI have been included in the proposed EU legislation on Vehicle Type-Approval Regulation, signifying a huge step forward for the aftermarket regarding access to in-vehicle data.

The EU Council’s main preparatory body, COREPER, recognised the need for the independent automotive aftermarket to maintain access to diagnostic and RMI-related data. It also clarified that access will be granted whilst the vehicle is in motion. This is essential to perform diagnostic, repair and maintenance services, at least until a solution is found for telematics access to the ‘connected car’.

However, whilst it has been clarified that the OBD port shall remain open whilst the vehicle is in motion, some vehicle manufacturers have started to introduce new measures, preventing access of independent operators to the OBD port.

FIGIEFA’s aim is to ensure that aftermarket access to in-vehicle data remains possible, with the issue to be swiftly addressed in 2018 by the EU Council.

Concerning the format of RMI information made available to independent repairers, this has often been in an unusable format, hampering the repair process causing significant losses in terms of time and efficiency. The new legislation intends to clarify that RMI and spare parts identification information shall also be provided in a machine readable and electronically processable form.

Aftermarket access to in-vehicle data will increase the competitiveness of automotive servicing and contribute to effective competition, offering motorists freedom of choice in the aftermarket care of their vehicles.

Hartmut Röhl, FIGIEFA president said: “The new vehicle type-approval and its RMI legislation, once approved, will represent a step forward and will have a positive impact for the entire automotive aftermarket and mobility services industries which account for more than 500,000 companies employing more than 4.3 million people across Europe and offering services to 284 million vehicle owners and business operators alike.

“However, the EU Commission must now find a solution on how to address the telematics access to the ‘connected car’, and we call upon it to start working in 2018 on the interoperable, standardised, secure and open-access platform.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “This is fantastic news, and although not the end game it’s a significant step towards keeping the OBD port alive.

“The missing OBD connector would impact not just on garages but the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of consumers who would no longer have a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair. This positive step marks the next stage in our fight and we’ll keep lobbying until we successfully reach that end game.”

The agreement will now need to be approved by the EP IMCO Committee before it is submitted for approval. If approved by the European Parliament, the new regulation will come into play from 1 September 2020.

The battle for keeping the OBD connector continues

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed many of the amendments approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, as part of the forthcoming type approval legislation.

These relate to the diagnostics, repair and maintenance of vehicles and are an important step towards improving the legislative framework for independent operators. Over 184 amendments were approved and included several major revisions, the most important of which is keeping the OBD port to the vehicle open and accessible.

This is just the beginning of a lengthy battle to preserve the small, but very important, OBD connector, which enables technicians to efficiently diagnose vehicle faults.

The radical changes proposed by type approval legislation will
have severe consequences on consumer choice. If it goes ahead, independent garages will no longer have unmonitored access to the OBD connector as it could be controlled entirely by the VM through remote diagnostics performed with the use of their servers.

Clearly these alternatives create the risk that some VMs may utilise a legislative loophole and gain a monopoly on access to technical vehicle data, controlling the cost of information and potentially shutting out independent workshops entirely.

If the IAAF and the other trade organisations fighting against the type approval proposals are successful then under legislation, VMs would have to continue to fit the OBD connector in new models of cars and consumer choice would remain protected.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said:

“The IAAF continues to play a very active role in these discussions, as our aim is to improve the legal framework conditions for competitive RMI throughout the life of a vehicle. We are at a critical stage and we will work alongside other Federations and FIGIEFA in Europe to ensure the automotive aftermarket’s voice is heard.”