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As OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vehicle tracking solutions become more common, is there still value for dealerships to invest in traditional devices?

With customer expectations at an all-time high and free courtesy cars now vital for dealerships wanting to attract clients to their service and repair departments, vehicle tracking solutions - which enable dealerships to know the location of their entire fleet at all times - have never been more important.

At first glance, using OEM devices to fulfil this requirement seems the simplest and cheapest solution. However, the question of who owns the data collected by OEM vehicle tracking solutions is hotly debated. With this in mind, is an aftermarket vehicle tracking solution still the best option for your fleet? We take a closer look.

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When it comes to vehicle tracking solutions, data ownership is key

Firstly, before dealerships make the decision to use either OEM or aftermarket vehicle tracking solutions, it’s vital that they understand who owns the data collected by their tracking devices and have full confidence it’s handled in a compliant way.

For the most part, traditional non-OEM solutions will offer greater control over customer data, whereas going down the OEM means you may need to accept that customer data will be stored and processed on your behalf by the vehicle manufacturer. In an era of GDPR and severe financial penalties for data protection failures, this raises a number of difficult questions around whether their devices are suitable for use across different markets with different data laws.

There’s also the question of compatibility. Assuming manufacturers do choose to make their data available to customers, it may still be necessary for dealerships to build custom APIs and integrations to consolidate this data from different sources.

We may see greater standardisation here in the future, as well as a clearer consensus on data ownership - but for now, traditional aftermarket vehicle tracking solutions have the upper hand.

Resistance to theft - OEM or aftermarket?

OEM solutions offer you the ability to track your vehicles, albeit using different solutions if you have a mixed fleet.
However, due to the fact that OEM trackers ship as standard in most cars, they're not very resistant to theft, as diligent car thieves can easily find out where the black boxes are located.

Conversely, by working with an aftermarket provider, you can ensure devices are placed in a more discreet location. One such untraceable device led to a BMW with keyless entry technology, which had been stolen from its owner’s driveway in South East London, being recovered in a ‘record’ 56 minutes after the owner notified the aftermarket vehicle tracking solutions provider, AX.

With aftermarket platforms, you can monitor and protect your entire fleet, on the same system, in real time.

Detailed reporting

How useful a vehicle tracking solution is depends on whether it can provide you with meaningful and detailed alerts and reports. Business users, such as a dealership, usually have specific needs (which vary depending on everything from fleet size to business model), which a one-size-fits-all OEM solution would struggle to meet.

Aftermarket solution reports are flexible and can be adapted for your specific needs, providing you with the ability to filter relevant information to your team, as and when you require. Plus, you can create custom alerts and unique dashboards, putting full control of your fleet firmly at your fingertips.

On the other hand, if tailoring your reports and data in this way is not something which is important to you at the moment, then OEM solutions may be sufficient for your requirements.

Integration with other software platforms

One of the main benefits of using an aftermarket telematics solution is that it can often be integrated with other software systems that you use within your dealership, offering you an overall view (and real insights) into your business. Ultimately, this could help you to increase your revenue and your margins.

Aftermarket tracking solutions come with other benefits

Fleet management is about much more than simply tracking vehicles. In order to meet customer demand for free courtesy cars, while ensuring that your fleet (and business) is protected, you need to make sure that risk is effectively managed. Many aftermarket solutions include features such as day-rate insurance and a DVLA Licence checker, so you can protect yourself in real time.

Conclusion: OEM or aftermarket?

Deciding whether or not to invest in an aftermarket vehicle tracking solution is an important decision for any dealership. If you want a solution which will provide you with efficient fleet management, detailed reports and proven theft resistance, all of which will ultimately have a real impact of your revenue, then an aftermarket vehicle tracking solution is what you need. On the other hand, if you simply want to track your vehicles, then OEM could be something to think about.

Top 5 considerations when choosing a telematics supplier

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5 considerations when choosing a telematics supplier