obdAftermarket representative bodies 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.

This news comes after ADE and many of its customers supported a petition organised by Autobiz Magazine, together with lobbying of Irish EU representatives to ensure that the voice of the independent aftermarket in Ireland was taken into account.

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, the European aftermarket body says it’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.

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.