How Automotive OEMs Can Take Advantage of the Connected Car Aftermarket

August 17, 2015  |  By John Jasper  |       

connected-car-aftermarketThe number of OEM and aftermarket connected car systems in use is expected to grow to 356 million in 2017 -- up from just 66 million in 2012 -- according to a connected car study by ABI Research. And while ABI notes that OEM solutions will continue growing rapidly, they also predict that aftermarket solutions will continue to attract consumers. Believe it or not, the latter presents a business opportunity for automakers, as well.

Here’s how automotive OEMs can take advantage of the connected car aftermarket:

Provide Easy Access to Vehicle Data

The telematics sensors in today’s connected cars generate gigabytes of data on a vehicle’s condition, but OEMs typically cannot access this data after a car is sold. One way to garner more business and keep customers coming back to OEM dealers for service -- even if they bought a used car -- is to provide a solution car owners can use to access that data.

Tech Mahindra’s Connected Aftermarket Suite is a case in point. This cloud-based portal makes vehicle data available to car owners and dealers online, enabling OEMs to diagnose and/or predict vehicle issues. In turn, this strengthens an OEM’s relationship with their customers and gives customers the benefit of easier servicing and maintenance. Additionally, for OEMs that can appropriately unlock vehicle data, this is a massive revenue opportunity. OEMs can use the data to drive direct marketing campaigns for service and support.

Partner with Aftermarket Solution Providers

Most drivers today want the functionality of a connected car, but the majority may not be in a position to buy a new vehicle. That means many consumers are turning to relatively inexpensive aftermarket solutions that add connectivity to the “traditional” cars they already own. By partnering with companies that sell these self-installable plug-and-play modules, OEMs can broaden their business by providing semi-integrated connected solutions tailored to work with their vehicles.

BMW took this approach by partnering with TomTom in 2012. The German automaker provides an easy way for owners of several BMW models across Europe to install the aftermarket TomTom GO LIVE device, which provides navigation, traffic updates, and hands-free phone calls. The device integrates with the in-vehicle entertainment system and has a dedicated dock on the dashboard, but can also be removed for data or software updates. Drivers can get the device fitted into their car at any BMW dealership.

Another example is Verizon Vehicle, an aftermarket connected car system set to launch later this year. The system, which carries a $14.99 monthly subscription, provides roadside assistance, automatic accident notifications, stolen vehicle tracking, car diagnostics, and more. It comes with a module that plugs into the car’s OBD port, a Bluetooth speaker, and a smartphone app.

License Aftermarket Technologies

A final way for OEMs to get a piece of the aftermarket pie is to license connected car solutions, like Abalta Technologies’ WEBLINK®, for inclusion in new vehicles or as dealer-installed accessories. WEBLINK creates a second virtual screen for apps on a smartphone that is then sent over to a vehicle’s screen via USB, Bluetooth or Wifi. It works with both Android and iOS devices without requiring any additional set-up. WEBLINK also works with both low-cost aftermarket and factory-installed vehicle infotainment systems.

In April 2015, MiTAC Digital Corporation announced a strategic partnership with Abalta Technologies to offer an advanced, cost-competitive connected car solution to automotive OEMs. The solution combines MiTAC’s Magellan SmartGPS Eco navigation and content platform with Abalta’s WEBLINK platform. The Magellan navigation, smartphone apps, and cloud content can be added to any vehicle that is infotainment ready. WEBLINK then enables the display and control of smartphone apps, including Magellan's SmartGPS apps, on virtually any infotainment display. This joint offering presents an ideal opportunity for OEMs to sell their existing customers an advanced connected solution without the overhead of the connectivity layer.

Topics: Connected Car - Other

John Jasper

John is the President and COO of Abalta Technologies. Abalta Technologies, Inc. is an emerging leader in the connected car landscape. Abalta has developed an innovative platform to enable car companies, automotive electronic firms and tier 1 suppliers to bridge the gap between the smartphone and the car’s infotainment system.

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