Don’t let the aftermarket be an afterthought, Bosch

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Diagnosing problems on a modern vehicle is already difficult. Not only do technicians have to gain access to the malfunctioning system, they also have to contend with units that are increasingly integrated into the vital systems of the car.

This leads to a growing number of mis-diagnosed problems and wrongly returned parts. At the recent Bosch Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, Germany, Dr Bernd Bohr, chairman of the automotive section of Bosch, said that between 50-70 percent of all parts returned to the company are returned because of misdiagnosed faults or being badly dismantled.

Garages and technicians in the aftermarket also face a growing concern over being able to repair problems, given the unparalleled growth of new technology being added to modern vehicles.

Two of the most talked-about technologies at the moment are engine downsizing and safety assistance packages. Both involve a brand new way of thinking. And; particularly in the case of safety devices, an increased level of integration into all car’s vital systems.

This means that for garages, the process of servicing a car will become a lot harder. Whilst manufacturers like Bosch would of course prefer motorists to take their problems to their outlets, they cannot ignore the independent aftermarket.

Bohr admitted that the aftermarket could sometimes be an afterthought. “It’s definitely something that we as an industry need to work on,” he said “Because in the end any car which the driver takes to the garage which does some repair but doesn’t find the problem, is a big annoyance.”

He also outlined Bosch’s plans to provide the aftermarket sector with the right tools for modern vehicles, saying: “We are doing everything we can to provide the right tools, for example providing cross-brand diagnosis equipment.”

However, whilst said equipment might become available with the advent of new technology, no mention was made at the briefing as to whether Bosch’s own service stations would be the only ones to benefit.

For the independent aftermarket, such systems might just prove to be too complex to handle without significant investment in tools and diagnostics. And for a cash-strapped industry, such an investment will most likely be considered a step too far.

Published by Darrenmoss

CAT magazine's in-house reporter and self-confessed petrol head

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