A method manages data traffic in a vehicle controller area network having a plurality of functional modules. To that end, the method and apparatus passively receive data messages transmitted across the controller area network. The data messages are formatted in one of a plurality of proprietary protocols. Next, the method determines the protocol of the data messages. The determined protocol is one of the plurality of proprietary protocols. After determining the protocol, protocol logic translates the data messages (transmitted across the controller area network) from the determined protocol to a given protocol. The protocol logic is configured to translate the data messages from any of the plurality of proprietary protocols into the given protocol. The method then transmits the data messages, in the given protocol, onto the controller area network for use by at least one of the functional modules.