The provision of vehicle data to third parties via APIs is a rapidly growing and important niche market. Insurance and vehicle finance providers purchase data including independent vehicle valuation, vehicle history and mileage checks, vehicle specification and vehicle running costs.
In the US, Pricedigest has been providing data on vehicles and other assets since 1911. Sold for decades as a physical book known as the ‘Auto Red Book’, the digital version of the data was initially available as a flat file database and imported into internal systems and then via an online database. Now they are being digitally delivered via APIs that integrate directly with software applications, such as Insurity , commonly used by insurers, and loan and lease origination software like Ivory and Odessa used by finance companies. The most recent APIs provide further analytics and insights such as utilization, popularity and market price trending. From an insurers point of view, the data is used for underwriting purposes, as well as claims processing to create accurate values using detailed adjustments for asset options and mileage and utilization. For finance providers, the data is used for more precise asset valuation and to enable faster and more automated portfolio audits.
Outside of the US, Solera Holdings, another US based provider, has grown rapidly through a series of acquisitions to become a classic hidden champion. Taken back into private ownership in 2016 by a private equity consortia led by Goldman Sachs, it owns a series of market leading niche yet global companies. All are in one way or another focused on the collection, aggregation, normalization and supply of vehicle data.
For example, Solera owns Audatex a leading provider of vehicle technical repair estimates which leverages a database of approved repairers. It operates in 78 countries worldwide and processes millions of motor claims per year.
In the UK, it owns Cap-hpi, a similar company to pricedigest, providing comprehensive vehicle data via APIs to insurers and vehicle finance providers.
Solera is also in China and recently announced that it has managed to collect data on, “95 percent of all cars on Chinese roads. Solera’s comprehensive profile of more than 166 million vehicles in China marks an unprecedented milestone in the aggregation and normalization of automotive data for the largest car market in the world.” Wow!