Auto Dealers stand to reap enormous benefits from connected cars with 1) higher efficiency on the lot, 2) more revenue opportunities during the sale, and 3) improved customer service over the lifetime of the vehicle.
And in order to tap these benefits, they will need to rely on a trusted 3rd party, not the OEM.
Why? Walk into any franchise dealership. You will see the major affiliated OEM models on the lot. A Toyota dealer has plenty of Toyotas, a Ford dealer has plenty of Fords. Yet very few dealers have NO other makes on the lot. Whether it’s through trade-in or used car sales, or a multitude of other ways, you see multiple makes on any lot. How will these get managed?
This problem creates an opportunity for the trusted 3rd party. Though auto OEMs are all focused on connected car services, they can do very little to offer a universal solution that works for all major makes at the dealership. By definition, auto dealers trying to manage inventory need a connected car solution which plugs in to any make, and offers a platform of value across the vehicle lifecycle.
A trusted 3rd party solution addresses this need. By plugging into the OBD port in any vehicle, the 3rd party platform offers flexibility and universality. Here’s how that works: 1) plug-in device, 2) crank the engine, 3) AutoPop! Now any make is registered, paired with a connected device, and trackable for a wide variety of GPS-enabled uses: turnover management, loaner management, test drive reports, exit and entry alerts, battery alerts, and more. A porter can get a prioritized list of cars most in need of a battery charge at any moment, because the connected plug-in device in the car gives him the right info at the right time. No more poorly-handled situations in front of a customer, waiting for a test drive, while a dead battery is jumped.
And that’s not all. The trusted 3rd party solves problems for flooring managers also. Imagine a near future in which flooring companies can do an instant press-button audit, with time- and geo-stamps validated by a trusted 3rd party! Flooring companies could offer better terms for dealers, or serve more dealers, with a solution which could save them the cost of sending a human to the lot.
Many industries gravitate toward the same model to solve the silo problem. Banks gravitate toward one ATM system. Bonds need standard rating agencies. Credit data is essentially centralized. Businesses want standard solutions that just work, without restriction.
Does the trusted 3rd-party concept for auto dealers still sound crazy? I think not. And if you’ve read this far, odds are you don’t think it’s crazy either. You can trust me.
About the Author: Dev Bhatia is a senior director of product management at CalAmp, managing the combined new and used auto dealer product roadmap, including LoJack. A proven leader in IoT, mobile, and web-based business, he was most recently acting CMO at Spireon, a business intelligence platform for telematics. Bhatia has been a start-up and growth-stage executive at several cutting-edge technology companies, including one that was bought by Yahoo! and one that went public. In 2013, Bhatia was honored as one of the inaugural socalTech 50, recognizing fifty up-and-coming Southern California executives.