After a century of autonomy, the automotive world is changing fast, and it seems like most of these changes are coming from outside the industry. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available in a growing number of new models, and are proving to be more popular than any in-house infotainment system. On top of Tesla largely legitimizing EVs, its revolutionary direct-sales method is changing the way automakers from Audi to Cadillac sell their cars. While some analysts believe that ride-sharing is the wave of the future, Ford has partnered with Google, and GM with Lyft, to develop technology together. And recently, Apple has partnered with Fiat-Chrysler to work on autonomous vehicles.
The old guard is realizing that in order to survive through all this radical change, they need to find tech partners that can navigate in the space between today and tomorrow — and that extends beyond just automakers. Car dealers, oil companies, and the insurance industry are all working to stay on the cutting edge too. And now, Allstate has partnered with startup Openbay to transform the way drivers find mechanics.
Launched in 2012, Openbay is an online marketplace that connects car owners with local mechanics, allowing them to choose a shop based on lowest quote (tax and labor included), distance, or customer reviews. Owners then book their appointments through Openbay, and pay for the service through the site. And to make sure their cars stay reliable and safe, the company keeps digital service records, and sends drivers reminders for regular service intervals. For the average car owner, it cuts through a lot of uncertainty and headaches. And for an insurance company like Allstate, it’s a match made in heaven.
For an insurance company, car accidents are bad for business. Openbay’s inventive services keep cars maintained. For Allstate, that likely means fewer accidents caused by things like bad brakes, shoddy electrical systems, stuck accelerators, or any number of mechanical failures. “Well maintained vehicles make the road safer for everyone. Consumers consistently indicate that identifying a quality auto-repair facility is a major pain point, which may serve as a deterrent to regular maintenance and repairs,” says Gary Hallgren, Allstate’s Connected Car President. “Integrating with Openbay enables Allstate to ease the burden of comparing and booking vehicle service.”
Openbay’s services are now available through Allstate Mobile’s “My Rides” section, and Drivewise app, so if you’re an Allstate customer who hadn’t heard of the startup until just now, you now have access to it. If you’re not an Allstate customer, you can still connect with the company through its website or app.
Gone are the days when car trouble meant going to the closest shop and hoping that it treated you fairly. For the past few years, Openbay has taken much of the anxiety out of car repairs, and replaced it with confidence, peace of mind, and most importantly, a say in the process. The automotive world may be changing fast, but as millions of Allstate customers have just found out, change can be a very good thing.