IAAF fights to keep OBD connector after legislation amendments

Battle continues to preserve the OBD port

IAAF fights to keep OBD connector after legislation amendments
In 1996 the United States introduced an obligation to equip vehicles with OBD-II. Five years later, in 2001, the European Union also started to require installation of that unit. Image: Bigstock.

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed many of the amendments approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee (IMCO), as part of the forthcoming type approval legislation.

Over 184 amendments relating to the diagnostics, repair and maintenance of vehicles were approved and included a number of key revisions, the most important of which is keeping the OBD port to the vehicle open and accessible.

However, the IAAF say the “battle has only just begun”.

After the proposal is accepted by the European Parliament, a compromise between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU needs to be reached in a negotiation process known as “informal trilogues.”

It means that the path to preserve the small, but very important, OBD connector remains a long one.

IAAF continues to work alongside FIGIEFA in Europe to represent the UK aftermarket and ensure its voice is heard.

It has led the fight against the proposals and helped to directly influence the recently announced type approval amendments approved by IMCO with its work on the ‘Dalton Report’ issued by West Midlands’ MEP Daniel Dalton.

Unmonitored access?

If it goes ahead, independent garages will no longer have unmonitored access to the OBD connector as it could be controlled entirely by the VM through remote diagnostics performed with the use of their servers.

In a statement, the IAAF said: “Clearly these alternatives create the risk that some VMs may utilise a legislative loophole and gain a monopoly on access to technical vehicle data, controlling the cost of information and potentially shutting out independent workshops entirely.

“The OBD connector is therefore necessary for the operation of the entire automotive aftermarket so that it is able to continue to offer consumers a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair.”

If IAAF and the other trade organisations fighting against the type approval proposals are successful then under legislation, VMs would have to continue to fit the OBD connector in new models of cars and consumer choice would remain protected.

Huge impact on independent aftermarket

“The consequences of removal of the small OBD connector would impact virtually all entities operating in the independent automotive market,” the IAAF added.

As well as garages, which would lose access to vehicle data and would have to depend on VMs, the missing OBD connector would also impact the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of drivers who would suffer the consequences of disrupted competition within the market.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The IAAF continues to play a very active role in these discussions, as our aim is to improve the legal framework conditions for competitive RMI throughout the life of a vehicle.

We are at a critical stage and we will work alongside other Federations and FIGIEFA in Europe to ensure the automotive aftermarket’s voice is heard.”

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