You must get involved on the issue of vehicle data. And here’s why.

I joined more than 300 of our automotive aftermarket colleagues in Washington, D.C., to tell the story of our industry to the legislators and their staffers with whom we met.

From left, Aftermarket Intel Editor and Publisher Mark Phillips, Bob Hendry, of 31 Inc. and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who represents Ohio's 16th district.

I’m beat. I just flew home from spending two very full days in and around Capitol Hill. I joined more than 300 of our automotive aftermarket colleagues in Washington, D.C., to tell the story of our industry to the legislators and their staffers with whom we met. 

It was all part of the Auto Care Legislative Summit 2019. If you’ve never attended one, I’m here to tell you it’s worth every second of your time. These summits give you the chance to meet with your elected officials and tell them why what our industry does is important and why it must survive and thrive. 

The big issue we discussed this week with lawmakers was consumer choice and access to their own vehicle’s data. Little do most people know that new vehicles rolling off the assembly lines with wireless connections throw off — get ready — 25 gigs of data, per hour! Hour!

Let’s think of your cell phone plan. Many plans cap or throttle your data at around 20 gigs — in a month. Now, your vehicle is just spewing an enormous amount of data every single hour of the day. It tells the automakers a slew of things about not only what your vehicle is doing but about you personally, as in, how much you weigh today versus what you weighed yesterday.

Is all of this news to you? Well, it was news to everyone we met on Capitol Hill. They’re really not aware of it either and that’s why more than 300 of us went into offices around the city to tell legislators and their staffers that consumers must have a right to their own data and that they and they alone should decide who gets to repair their vehicle, be it a car dealership or your favorite independent repair facility. 

I’ll have more in the podcast next week where we’ll go into more depth, but trust me, the investment in time you spend during these important events will be well worth it and has implications that spread beyond not just your business, but to the overall automotive industry, consumers and anyone who relies on the independent automotive aftermarket to keep them on the road. 

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