Entering one of the big brand names such as BMW, Ford, or Toyota in a search engine such as Google quickly reveals the problem that you have to be prepared for in a search: Hundreds of millions to several billion search hits are waiting for each vehicle. These must be refined by further terms to get to the information that is actually of interest finally. The display of the search hits follows in their order algorithms that are still far from being able to recognize the intention of the searcher in detail. Thus, the order of the search hits often follows the efforts of resourceful search engine optimizers and not the actual relevance. Besides, a lot of information is not to be found on specially optimized result pages (so-called “landing pages”) but is hidden in tables, PDF documents, or databases.
Carwatch.net starts right there: Technical vehicle information is collected worldwide and brought into a uniform structure. Based on this, research and analysis can be carried out much more easily and quickly later on. The focus here is on “vehicles in the field,” i.e., only after they have landed with the vehicle owner and been registered. Various sources of information are available for this purpose:
Virtually every critical automotive sales market is subject to government regulations. This also includes the obligation for vehicle manufacturers to report faults or even safety risks of vehicles and to initiate vehicle recalls for critical cases. The authorities publish these recalls; via notification services, on websites, or in recall databases. Carwatch.net consolidates worldwide available recalls from
- the European authority RAPEX and other national European institutions,
- the US authority NHTSA, from Canada and various Latin American countries,
- China, Japan, South Korea,
- New Zealand and Australia.
Investigations and tests
The way until mere conspicuousness turns into a real recall varies, depending on whether a high risk is involved or whether it is particularly urgent. In acute and particularly dangerous situations, the authorities and also the manufacturers usually act very quickly. However, knotty clarifications are often required. The exact implications will be examined, and attempts will be made to narrow down to the models concerned concerning their production time. If components or parts of certain suppliers are affected, they are sometimes also consulted and included in the communication. Depending on the country, environmental authorities or similar institutions may also intervene with investigations and tests. Our available data follows the different transparency of the individual automotive markets. While some regions remain completely impenetrable for us, for others, we can sometimes break down to the correspondence of the proper authorities.
Complaints in forums, blogs, questionnaires
Even though the vast expanses of the Internet provide almost inexhaustible data on any vehicle problem, sensible use and especially the reduction of these data masses to the really relevant information turns out to be a significant challenge. Here we concentrate from the outset on the sources of information that are of interest to us. Since these are almost always regional, focused on individual brands and model ranges or even only specific models, this is a considerable effort. New data sources are added month by month. For us, this is not just about collecting information. In contrast to classical search engines, we try to prepare and manage the results in a structured form.