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Applying the principles of the circular economy and implementing sustainable approaches is a significant challenge for the automotive sector. In addition to the technological developments underway (electric mobility, hydrogen, etc.), it is also possible to act on the entire value chain. The challenge is both economic and ecological.

The spare parts segment and, more specifically, that of second hand spare parts, fits perfectly into this approach. It is a matter of taking parts from end-of-life cars that can then be reinstalled in vehicles that are still running. While the manufacture, storage and installation of new parts is a source of “excess” energy consumption, reusing parts can have a positive impact on the carbon footprint of the process.

Luc Azilinon created Interlinks-Auto to make the use of reused parts accessible to as many people as possible. He has more than 20 years of international experience in the field of automotive repairs and in the implementation of digital solutions for the sale and distribution of new parts.

Structuring the data

He chose to use his experience to create an app that would allow him to easily manage everything from customers’ initial requests to the installation of parts in their vehicles. “We estimate that 20% of people who drive cars actually don’t have the necessary means to do so,” explains Mr Azilinon. “They have to make choices and forego certain maintenance or repairs. The emergence of an offer such as ours will simplify things for them, as prices can be as low as half of the cost for traditional spare parts.”

The app currently under development – its commercial launch is expected in the last quarter of 2021 – will provide a link between the two ends of the chain: users looking for parts and car wreckers who can recover those parts. “We are working on structuring the data coming from professionals and developing software tools to exploit it.”

It is notably through the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster managed by Luxinnovation that Mr Azilinon has been able to access a number of contacts with demolition professionals, as well as with Febiac (the Belgian and Luxembourg Federation of the Automobile and Cycle Industry) and insurers. “The use of reused parts is a key area for car insurance,” he says.

“Luxinnovation makes things possible”

He has already been involved a few years ago in the launch and development of two other platforms, Originauto and Autopass (that have since been sold to one of Europe’s leading after-sales companies), which offered millions of references of car parts. “Luxinnovation makes things possible, especially by facilitating contacts that would be impossible to find for an entrepreneur entering a market. But support is also provided at each stage of the project, in the way it is formulated and presented. This considerably helped us clarify things when we were submitting applications for process innovation aid to the Ministry of the Economy.”

Initially intended to be mainly B2B, the application being finalised has been reoriented towards B2C in the context of the COVID crisis that almost stopped the activities of automotive professionals. “We have put the power back in the hands of the individual user, who can choose to follow such a circular approach by favouring reused parts.”

While the entire pilot phase is taking place in Luxembourg, the app is intended to be deployed in the Greater Region. The identification of key contacts is still in progress. The next step will consist in the implementation and deployment of a repair network dedicated to reused parts only.

“The combination of the persistent COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing upheavals in the automotive industry (electrification, autonomous mobility, industry 4.0, etc.) is pushing companies to reinvent themselves,” observes Anthony Auert, the manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster. “Environmental challenges and, more specifically, the circular economy that is a national areas, offer promising new economic opportunities for agile and visionary companies like Interlinks Auto.”

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