Many of your customers have never heard of 'connected cars.' Have you?

Sept. 8, 2014
The adoption and understanding of new technology will continue to advance the way you service vehicles.

As a society, we continue to adopt new technologies to help with the conveniences of everyday life: We can set up a recording of our favorite television program at home when we're still at work, turn the thermostat down after already leaving the house, text a friend, for free, overseas -- all by using a smartphone.

With this accelerated usage of smart devices, it's no wonder that vehicle technology is following suit. In a recent study by Waggener Edstrom, more than half of respondents (57 percent) indicated they currently owned a smartphone and showed an interest in mobile apps that connected to their cars (To read a whitepaper on the study, visit: VehicleServicePros.com/11670083).

But nearly 70 percent of these same respondents also said they had never heard of the term "connected car."

Sometimes referred to as "embedded vehicle technology," this can refer to anything from lane departure systems, back-up assistance cameras or keyless entry to having a device remotely connected to a vehicle in order to relay status reports of the vehicle's performance to another location (e.g. your shop).

Last year, Scott Luckett, CIO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (now known as the Auto Care Association) commented that this technology "is a tangible threat to the aftermarket automotive service and parts industry... the aftermarket industry must develop effective 'connected car' alternatives to assure that drivers have a real choice when it comes to auto repairs, maintenance and parts."

We've seen this evolving technology in action at AAPEX, in Delphi's Connected Car booth. The company showcased a shop's ability to utilize technology to connect vehicles to customers, customers to their shop, and the vehicle to the shop. As with most tool technology (think TPMS relearns or the changeover to R-1234yf refrigerant), it may take a few years for you to see widespread use of these tools in aftermarket shops -- but this technology isn't going away.  

The automotive aftermarket industry continues to strive to provide service to customers. Now more than ever, shops have the continually improving ability to assess, review and diagnose an issue with a vehicle. Even if it's not in the shop. 

I'm not suggesting you go out and buy the Launch GOLO or the Actron U-Scan tomorrow (although those tools are pretty cool and worth a look), but it's imperative that you keep up-to-date on new tools and equipment technology in our industry. How else will you compete in the marketplace?

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