I am relocating to Europe soon, and I'm pretty sure my new car would have OBD-II. Why is Automatic adamant their current product is for the US only? Is it a regulatory issue, or something technical which I don't see? The adapter sounds universal, Bluetooth and phones even more so.

If I take my adapter and try it in Europe, it won't work, or it would break, or break my car? Or the phone?

Meanwhile, there's the International Alpha program, I know: https://www.automatic.com/international/#alpha

closed as unclear what you're asking by TMN, DucatiKiller, Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, Bob Cross Dec 12 '15 at 15:49

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    I'm sorry, but what you are asking is a little unclear. If you are wondering why the Automatic product is limited to the US then I would say that question is outside of the scope of this site, since it is a question about the design of their product and not about vehicle maintenance and repair. Their support team should be able to answer that question better than anyone here can. – David Winslow Aug 3 '15 at 22:40
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    On a side note, their product will definitely not break your car. You may be able to use a proxy to prevent them from locking you out based on your location. – David Winslow Aug 3 '15 at 22:41
  • @DavidWinslow Thanks, I think this is related to vehicle maintenance and repair. If anything, more than radios and stereos are. So the port is the same, Bluetooth and the handsets are the same, it should work? It is not clear to me they offer any cloud service that would care about my location. – László Aug 3 '15 at 22:44
  • It may work, depending on which protocol is used for the vehicle and what protocols you have loaded for your Bluetooth device. As @DavidWinslow said, it's not going to break the car, the scanner, or the device, so trying won't hurt anything ... it may not work, but it's not going to break. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 4 '15 at 0:12

I have to say that this is really strange.

  • There are several different protocols, of which a few are mandatory in the US. Why should VW implement two (or more) protocols, one for the US marked, one for the rest of the world?
  • I have a cheap OBD-II Bluetooth dongle which works fine with all Android OBD-II Apps so far. As all protocols are supported (tested during initialization), it seems not to be a problem to implement them into the dongle / app.

Due to the fact that this app / system is so comprehensive, this technical issue sounds more like an excuse. Maybe, they don't want return shipments from foreign countries.

Beneath the pure technical functionality of reading out the data from the car and displaying them nicely, the system offers some non-technical features like an emergency agent who calls you in case of a detected crash etc. This service is not (yet) available outside the US, as it also needs some infrastructure. However, they could still say that this services are only available in the US.

Reading their website about the "why not" and "how it's still possible" reveals that the system reads out the VIN of the car, which only in the US contains some additional technical information. They use this for some purposes and get stuck when it doesn't follow the US scheme. Hence, if you want to try the system with a non-US car, you have to send them your VIN first!

Yet, it's strange. Why do they develop an own OBD-II device supporting just a subset of all protocols, when such devices are available for all protocols for a few bucks on ebay. Even when they added some features, why not starting from something existing?


OBDII is a (nearly) universal standard, but many different signal protocols exist

It may be that they haven't implemented the signal protocols that are used by non-US manufacturers. If so, the issue would be one related to vehicle support.

It wouldn't hurt the vehicle to try using the device; in the worst case, the device will not be able to establish connection.

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