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Get yourself connected - Part one

Innovations in connected car technology can now help prevent breakdowns and non-starts; enhance residual values; and improve service and maintenance regimes. For fleet management, leasing and hire companies, this new level of connectivity could provide value-added solutions for both their own operations and for their end customers.

In this two-part guide, we examine how new levels of connectivity from telematics can help strengthen customer loyalty and boost revenue streams in the highly competitive leasing and fleet management sectors.

How it works

Telematics devices connect to the CAN bus system, which is essentially the brains of a car or light commercial vehicle (LCV). This connectivity enables the telematics device to read and communicate any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Extensive field trials have shown that telematics systems with DTC capabilities have the potential to substantially reduce vehicle breakdowns.

The AA conducted a 12-month trial with more than 10,000 vehicles – and the findings were remarkable. The data clearly showed that 38% of breakdowns were directly related to a DTC. If that information had been communicated quickly, the vehicle owner could have booked it in for a service or minor repair, saving time and money. Unscheduled vehicle downtime is a big business expense. Recent research by van hire specialist, Northgate, estimated that the average van spends four days a year off the road, at a cost of £3,200 per annum to the business which operates it.

For vehicle leasing and fleet management companies, DTC capability is an attractive service to be able to offer their customers. Firstly, it helps their clients to prevent breakdowns and the costly chaos they cause to a business. Secondly, it can help enhance revenues from service, maintenance and repair (SMR) activities. This could be a revenue share scheme with an SMR partner, or additional business for your own workshops and spare parts departments. Thirdly, for companies with large fleets, DTC data can also provide analysis of trends, such as identifying common faults within vehicles at a certain mileage.

Stay Energised

Along with reading DTCs, leading-edge telematics systems can now also provide real-time data on the status of a car or van battery.

Advanced battery algorithms run a series of checks every time a vehicle engine is cranked, to provide feedback on the health of the battery, and send notifications if it is suffering a fault or requires replacing. Non-starts due to battery failure are one of the most common causes of call-outs for breakdown and recovery companies. Therefore nipping battery issues in the bud has the same benefits for the vehicle operator and fleet management company as timely communication of DTCs.

In part two of this blog, we highlight how the very latest innovations in telematics are taking connected car technology to a new level.

Trakm8 Connectedcare is our pioneering vehicle health solution, encompassing DTC alerts, real-time battery status and much more. Connectedcare is available as a stand-alone solution or as part of our wider telematics proposition. For further information on Connectedcare, visit www.trakm8.com/automotive/connectedcare. Alternatively email us at info@trakm8.com, or call 0330 311 5157.

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