The repair of vehicles with todays driver advanced-assistance systems (ADAS) level two and advancing to level three pose challenges and opportunities for auto OEMs like Mazda and Insurers. The increasing number of sensors, software updates and lack of standards between OEMs and their component supply chains all add to the complexity of repair.

Automated lane changing in which the driver must retain overall control but relies more on ADAS at a minimum requires that all the sensors, software and AI is working correctly. That is why the Mitchell/Mazda initiative is important.

The Network reinforces the companies' commitment to safety and provides Mazda vehicle owners with confidence in the repair of their automobiles. It also offers participating U.S. Mazda dealerships, Multi-Shop Operators (MSOs) and independent repair facilities the opportunity to enhance customer loyalty, improve workflow efficiency and attract new business.

 "Through our collaboration with Mitchell, we can extend the Mazda experience to collision repair—supporting customers at every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, from purchasing a new car to properly restoring it following an accident."

Rob Milne, Vice President of Aftersales and the Technical Services Division of Mazda North America Operations

Choreographing both franchised and independent repair shops to Mazda compliance standards is a key differentiator.

The Mazda Collision Network differs from other Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) repair programs due to its metrics-driven approach. Participants must meet leading industry standards for business operations, training, tools and equipment. Ongoing, systematic monitoring of each job tracks facilities' continued compliance with program requirements for safe repair, cycle time and customer satisfaction.

That can be tied in with insurers to ensure claims are managed faster, effectively and, vitally, to approved standards. Choreographing all the participants in the chain becomes important and Mitchell takes that role for Mazda but who does for the insurer?

If there was a collision was it driver error or errors in the ADAS? Were previous services and repairs fully compliant and if there was a previous accident were all the sensors and software recalibrated to OEM standards? Liability decisions require an audit trail accessible to all parties.

This is where claims management, repair management and customer experience all converge. Otherwise the proper, safe repair of collision-damaged vehicles may be compromised. 

The combinations of, say,  Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures to access Mazda repair information from within the estimate and an auto insurer's claims management system becomes essential. 

The same goes for other OEMs, insurers and accident damage repair software vendors whether Tractable, Audatex, LexisNexis, Verisk and others. There is a complex matrix of dataflows, data management, AI ands automation in an overall picture of non-standardisation. Mastery of these will deliver significant competitive advantage to the enterprises that grow to dominate i.e. become data aggregators and ecosystem accelerators.

It is not a slam dunk for any particular participants to achieve that dominance . It is one thing to evolve partnerships like that of Mitchell & Mazda at this ADAS Level 2/3 point. ADAS Level 4 and fully autonomous Level 5 make industry-wide solutions more and more complex. Add to that a vehicle parc that still comprises internal-combustion engines (ICE), electric vehicles (EV) and eventually autonomous vehicles (AV) and vehicle repair, fleet management and claims management needs data aggregators that can support and power ecosystems.

The winners will be the enterprises that delivers today's requirements and anticipate the evolving trends of the next five to ten years and beyond. Strategies and decisions executed today will predicate future success and failure whilst all the while there are disruptive forces that may completely reroute these trends.

  • From auto ownership to mobility services
  • From vehicle/driver insurance to fleet and product liability insurance
  • From personal driving to autonomous driving and both in co-existence
  • Autonomous driving in smart cities and point-to-point trucking and personal driving in rural areas and for local goods deliveries
  • From ICE to EV to AV across trucking to autos
  • From personal ownership to rideshare and robotaxis

Auto OEMs and Insurers will both co-operate and compete for share of the premiums whether driver/vehicle or product liability. All will seek to monetise the data from the connected vehicle and connected driver. It may not be the auto OEM or the insurer that gains the data aggregator and ecosystem accelerator leadership position.

They might be edged out by new forms of risk management/prevention. Think DeFi. By enterprises that anticipate the buying behaviour of customers needing service across the whole lifecycle of mobility from vehicle ownership and leasing to hiring mobility . From successful trips to those blighted by delay, accident, injury or worse. 

In country, overseas and in cities and wild urban areas.

For all the automation, AI and data mastery in the world these customers will also require human assistance whenever they want. Covering a wide range of needs some urgent and some less so. But all requiring solutions, expertise and empathy.

This Mitchell/Mazda initiative is significant step on this journey as is Elon Musk's plans to add insurance and claims management to buying and leasing Tesla vehicles. Toyota makes it easier for buyers of new and used vehicles to get the best insurance for usage and value via its  TIMS insurance and finance operations. 

Other OEMs following similar strategies. It will be fascinating to see tomorrow's winners from today's incumbents.