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      2 min read

      In the Rearview Mirror: A Leading Automobile Warranty and Service Conference Recap

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      A recap of MAPconnected, A Vehicle Service & Warranty Lifecycle Conference

      I had the privilege of moderating the recent MAPConnected Vehicle Lifecycle and Warranty Conference. Being the conference moderator offered several distinct advantages. I observed audience attention and participation during the presentations, plus I had the opportunity to ask the tough questions on everyone’s minds. Here is a short recap of my experience.

      Advancements in the Automotive Industry Bring More Questions

      Overall, great presentations and wonderful networking, but I believe many of the presentations prompted more questions than provided answers. The discussions which generated the most interest and produced the largest audience participation were on Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Over-The-Air Updates (OTAs). After re-listening to several of the presentations, I am still scratching my head about what the future of servicing EVs will look like. What services will Roadside Assistance be able to offer EVs? What will the local WaWa’s, Raceways, Speedways, and others look like when half of the cars on the road are EVs? And most of all, will our national power grid support the increasing need for wattage?

      And on the subject of OTAs, no one really answered if OTAs are trackable as warranty repairs. Will they count as a Lemon Law repair attempt? How will drivers protect their privacy while still allowing software to flow from the OEM to their vehicle? How will Rivian and other new “disrupters” utilize OTAs to advance customer satisfaction and improve hassle-free driving?  

      Seamless Integration for Automotive Service and Warranty

      Many of the great presentations were “pieces” of a much larger story. They focused on how to provide quality service, how to diagnose, how to stay in touch with the customer, and how to work with suppliers on warranty or quality. I believe the questions that still need to be asked are:

      1. How do we put all of these pieces together in a high-performing, end-to-end system with seamless integration?
      2. How do OEMs streamline their business transactions with their dealer and supplier partners?

      Yes, lots of questions, but we also heard some really great answers. We listened to how Mahindra developed and delivered efficiency tools to their dealers via a simple, well-equipped portal. We heard how Magna is leveraging the power of data over the physically returned part to get to the root cause quickly and effectively. Our dealer partner, Ed Roberts, shared success stories around technician retention and customer satisfaction. GKN showed how they are utilizing a back-to-basics quality board to break down the process and track issues to resolution. We heard practical advice on everything from selecting warranty claims to examine, how to outsource, and how to improve customer satisfaction at the retail level.

      Lots of questions, yes, but success stories continue to abound. I am already looking forward to next year’s conference and hopefully, we will all be a year “smarter!” We will have an additional year’s experience with many of these complex issues. And my real hope for next year…to see additional OEMs and suppliers at the conference, including the likes of Tesla and Rivian.


      Mike Roberts

      Mike Roberts worked for Ford Motor Company for over 33 years. During his career with Ford, he worked with Ford and Lincoln dealerships in 4 different regions of the U.S., assisting with customer service activities and helping dealers in their warranty administration. Mike is a member of the Automotive Industry Actions Group (AIAG), an instructor for AIAG (CQI-14 Warranty Management and Warranty 101), and does frequent warranty benchmarking within the industry as President of MRI.