17 Dec 21

CITA endorses CARA on in-car data

Who owns and gets to use in-car data? CITA, the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee, has just endorsed a position paper on that topic published earlier this year by CARA, the European Car Remarketing Association. It’s an important development in a crucial debate, with potentially major repercussions for the automotive industry. 

In a press statement, CITA said it “endorses CARA's Position Paper, which defines a standpoint regarding the access and usage rights to in-car generated data from vehicles owned, and the framework conditions needed to support the fleet and remarketing business.”

Savings for consumers

The statement went on to say that “access to in-car data (by) the remarketing value chain delivers savings for consumers and enterprises, enhances competition, supports environmental goals of emission reduction, raises values of used assets to support the circular economy approach while ensuring consumers freedom of choice on data privacy.”

Adding to the statement, CITA Communication Manager Daniele D’Onofrio said: “We believe fair access to vehicle systems and data is necessary to ensure that all stakeholders, particularly drivers and car owners, can play their role.”

For CARA, CITA’s support is an important win. “The discussion on in-car data has turned political. Associations like ours can add the considerations of their members to the discussion”, says Roland Gagel, Senior VP and Head of Mobility & KAM at TÜV Süd, and also CARA Board Member and Leader of the Workgroup that developed CARA’s In-Car Data Position Paper. “By adding its support to the standpoint of the Remarketing industry, CITA increases its relative weight versus that of the OEMs.”

Remarketing value chain

Here's what’s at stake. As modern vehicles increasingly generate in-car data, the question of which parties have the right to access and use this data becomes ever more relevant, as this information can be used to verify or create value. Arguments are variously made for those rights belonging exclusively or partly to OEMs, vehicle operators (e.g. lease companies) or vehicle users (i.e. drivers). 

Unsurprisingly, the economic importance of the OEMs amplifies their voice in this debate. However, in-car data also has several major implications for the Remarketing value chain, notably for the de-fleeting process, the transaction itself, and not least the buyer of the vehicle. With this in mind, CARA established a Workgroup on In-Car Data.

Earlier this year, the Workgroup published a Position Paper that proposed a well-considered differentiation of various data types as the basis of a solution that would respect and benefit all stakeholders in the debate.

Proponent of free access

On the one hand, CARA is a proponent of free access to in-car data. This, the organisation believes, will deliver savings for consumers and enterprises, among many other benefits.

On the other, however, the CARA Workgroup acknowledges that other parties may want to maintain proprietary claims to certain types of vehicle data. To arrive at a productive arrangement, the CARA Workgroup produced the ‘CARA List of In-Car Data’, an open list of data elements with relevance to remarketing, to be considered during a vehicle’s lifetime.

The CARA List distinguishes between six different data types, of which the Data Transaction Type is the most relevant in terms of the discussion on usage and ownership of data. CARA wants these Data Transaction Types to be properly understood by all stakeholders, including EU regulatory and legislative bodies, and suggests a different treatment for each:

  • Vehicle Technical Data: public data, with no restriction of rights of the vehicle owner, keeper or driver. This data is publicly available without consent of the vehicle owner, keeper or driver. 
  • Transaction Data: data generated by the vehicle in use. The vehicle owner can use or share this data without the consent of the vehicle keeper or driver.
  • Discretional Data: data in conjunction with the car that is (or can be) related to private individuals. GDPR rights apply. Consent of vehicle driver, keeper or owner (as applies) required. 

Further endorsements

“It’s important for all players in Remarketing to make in-car data available for all users at every change of ownership”, explains Mr. Gagel. “Transparency about in-car data for both sellers and buyers enhances the car’s residual values, prolongs its lifetime and thus ultimately supports the circular economy and sustainability. It also prevents mileage fraud and the remarketing of unprofessionally refurbished total-loss vehicles.”

However, Mr. Gagel points out, several stakeholders remain keen to keep all in-car data under their control, which would give them an unfair advantage vis-à-vis vehicle owners, remarketers and buyers. He is hopeful that CITA’s endorsement of CARA’s position on in-car data is the first step towards wider acknowledgement of a principle that would allow free use of relevant in-car data. 

“Each in their way, other concerned groups – for example Leaseurope or FIGIEFA – stand for freedom of choice for owners and drivers, to have the data generated by their cars at every stage under their control. CARA will now look for further endorsements, and promote our standpoint with the relevant parties at EU level. We want to ensure that they recognize its benefits for all remarketing end-customers across Europe. The ultimate goal: sector-specific regulation for the automotive industry.”

Read the CARA Workgroup’s Position Paper on In-Car Data at: https://cara-europe.org/in-car-data

Authored by: Frank Jacobs