Non-tariff trade barriers create massive challenges for the aftermarket

Non-tariff barriers to trade also play a role in the aftermarket. Motor manufacturers and suppliers who ensure that spare parts are available are faced with massive challenges. They must satisfy the requirements created by these trade barriers, such as providing documents, supplying additional information on labels and adding features to products. In some cases entire processes must be revised. There is also additional work required for the procurement of information and for coordination between departments and processes. All this gives rise to unnecessary costs, which ultimately have to be charged to customers.

More and more regulations do not provide consumers with any real benefit

Certifications and licenses make sense in principle. They enable a review of compliance with quality and safety standards and of general regulations to be made. This is the reason that UN regulations were created. There are now two additional large collections of regulations from the USA and China (FMVSS and CCC). And the tendency for countries to introduce more and more new standards and regulations is on the rise. Normally these do not provide consumers with any real benefit – not even the increased safety which is often claimed. All they do is increase the already high level of complexity in the aftermarket supply chain. Since the volumes involved in the aftermarket are very low compared to mass production, the cost of meeting these requirements is disproportionately high and very cost-intensive.

Old parts must be distinguished from waste for remanufacturing

Remanufacturing, in other words the repair and preparation of defective old parts, the so-called cores, is also affected by trade barriers. The challenge here to distinguish between old parts and waste is often ignored. The VDA is playing an active role in the revision of a technical regulation, the “Basel Convention,” to eliminate this uncertainty, particularly for cross-border transport. Using the definition of remanufacturing prepared in 2013, the VDA and other organizations are campaigning for a clear difference to be made in the regulation between old parts and waste. This will enable old parts to be remanufactured on a cross-border and economical basis.

Basic principles and assumptions behind “The Open Telematics Platform”

Recently the topic of data has been a subject of much controversy. The car generates large quantities of data to support it’s onboard functions, and the tendency is for that to further increase. Technical advances have made it possible to transfer the data in new ways. Currently, workshops connect diagnostic equipment to the vehicle via cable; technically wireless transfer is also possible. A wireless connection opens up new usage models. In addition to established diagnostic and repair solutions, in future new service offerings will become possible.

Unfortunately, new opportunities are often accompanied by risks, and that could be the case with transfer of data from the car. Providing access to data increases the risk of inappropriate data usage or data manipulation by a hacker. This is the reason for the topic “Open Telematics Platform” being one of the subjects addressed in the context of the European ITS action plans and the ITS guideline (2010/40/EU).

Sharing the same motivation, the VDA, together with its members, has prepared a positioning paper on the subject. The paper describes the basic principles and assumptions behind “The Open Telematics Platform.”

The “Quality is added value” initiative is designed to appeal to workshops

The “Quality is added value” industry initiative was started by supplier companies in 2010 and since then it has had the support of the VDA. The initiative is primarily designed to appeal to workshops to increase their awareness of product quality. In 2014, the homepage ( was revised and now provides new information and training courses for workshops. From September to November 2014, the initiative was unveiled at six company open days in Germany and the newsletter has been redesigned. At the end of 2014, an online survey was started and its results have been published on the website.

As a result of this exchange, the initiative started a campaign entitled “We make it exact!” to increase awareness on the part of workshops and consumers of the risks of fitting non-genuine spare parts. Arguments to be put to customers have been formulated for this purpose. These have been available to workshops since the start of 2015 in the form of a poster.