Partnerships and Integration

Toyota, Lexus leverage White Clarke financing tool in UK

LONDON - 

This week, White Clarke Group highlighted that one of its tools is being leveraged by Toyota and Lexus Financial Services throughout the United Kingdom. The captives launched the new NGage system nationwide for instant, seamless and transparent customer finance quotations and agreements.

White Clarke said that Toyota and Lexus dealers across the U.K. are making the business of financing a vehicle purchase quicker and simpler for customers with the introduction of NGage, a new, web-based electronic point-of-sale system.

Commissioned by Toyota and Lexus Financial Services, NGage is designed to provide a wealth of features designed to help customers choose the package that’s right for them and, when happy with the details, use an electronic signature to agree the finance deal. Quotations can be compared side-by-side with appropriate interest rates (quoted as APR) and finance approval can be obtained almost immediately.

White Clarke pointed out the process eliminates the need for paper documents at the quotation and agreement stage and avoids the delays that can occur when documents have to be physically signed and returned. The company said the clarity and ease of use are in line with the kind of streamlined purchase procedures customers experience and appreciate in other retail areas.

At the same time as NGage makes for a seamless and transparent customer experience, White Clarke went on to mention the solution is also designed to be robust and secure. For example, any application for finance has to be supported by customer proof of identity.

NGage uses CALMS software designed by the White Clarke, enabling interfaces with leading credit bureaus and vehicle data services. It is highly flexible and can be accessed using a wide range of devices, from desktop computers to tablets and smartphones.

“We have sought to produce a best-in-class front-end system that will help strengthen our performance in fleet, retail and direct customer sales,” said Fran Kenny, director of operations at Toyota Financial Services.

“We have had positive feedback from our dealers and we see great potential in the business agility that NGage can provide,” Kenny continued. “Auto finance is dynamic, fast-growing marketplace, so it’s important for us to be agile and contain costs while delivering business change that benefits us, our dealers and our customers.”

NGage has been developed and extensively tested prior to a national roll-out through Toyota and Lexus’ 234 centers over a six-week period with full implementation completed by end of November.  At the same time, an e-training program has been used for all dealer and internal staff to learn how the system works and the benefits it can deliver.

“We are delighted that Toyota Financial Services, having completed a thorough market assessment has chosen to extend its partnership with White Clarke Group through the implementation of White Clarke Group’s new CALMS3 product,” said Brendan Gleeson, group chief executive officer at White Clarke Group.

“CALMS3 has undergone a complete technical upgrade utilizing the latest UX technology and design techniques to deliver greater agility and transform the customer experience, including the implementation of the CALMS3 digital processing and e-Signature/e-ID functionality,” Gleeson went on to say. “It’s fantastic to have had such a smooth and well received go-live.”

AutoGravity lands partnership with Audi on mobile app

IRVINE, Calif. - 

AutoGravity, which gives potential car buyers across the U.S. the ability to obtain up to four personalized financing offers on their mobile device, landed another partnership with a captive finance company.

Having relationships with Volkswagen and Hyundai already in its portfolio, AutoGravity on Tuesday announced a partnership with Audi Financial Services, the financial services affiliate of Audi of America.

Finance options from Audi Financial Services are now available on the AutoGravity platform, which can empower customers to find their chosen Audi at the dealership of their choice and arrange financing in four steps. Audi dealers also can benefit from a new — and rapidly growing — source of customers as more than 1 million consumers who downloaded the AutoGravity app, which attracts approximately 150,000 additional consumers each month.

“This partnership puts Audi Financial Services at the forefront of the digitization of the car buying and financing experience,” said Charles Moore, chief digital officer and senior vice president of marketing and business development at Audi Financial Services.

“Our participation in the AutoGravity network gives us direct access to over a million smartphone-first car buyers, letting us serve them with personalized offers on any Audi vehicle, anytime and anywhere they want,” Moore continued.

AutoGravity’s relationship with Volkswagen arrived last July, and the partnership with Hyundai came in September.

“AutoGravity brings the car financing experience into the digital age — where today’s consumer wants to find it: in the palm of their hand,” AutoGravity chief executive officer Andy Hinrichs said. “Through our partnership with Audi Financial Services, we’re able to serve this rising generation of Audi enthusiasts with mobile access to unparalleled lease and finance options, helping them close the deal with confidence.”

The app is available for download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. AutoGravity is also available as a mobile-responsive website at www.autogravity.com.

Toyota and Pizza Hut jump into autonomous vehicle food delivery race

PLANO, Texas - 

The days of those “beater” units being used for food deliveries might be numbered.

Another pizza chain and an automaker are collaborating to bring hot food to your home, or perhaps dealership, without someone behind the wheel of that heavily used vehicle you might have retailed.

A few months after Domino’s and Ford announced their intentions. Pizza Hut and Toyota on Monday revealed that they have forged a global partnership to explore the future of pizza delivery and other initiatives to improve mobility around the world.

Toyota unveiled designs of a self-driving concept vehicle called e-Palette at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and Pizza Hut is one of the founding members of a new “mobility service business alliance” that also includes Amazon, Didi, Mazda and Uber.

The announcement follows a number of initiatives from Pizza Hut created to provide the best delivery experience, including a new delivery algorithm that drastically improves the accuracy and reliability of deliveries, new delivery pouches able to keep pizzas up to 15 degrees hotter and a pilot test of beer and wine delivery in the U.S.

And when the plans come together the pizza won’t arrive in that older, high-mileage Corolla you might have retailed a few months ago.

OEM officials highlighted the mobility service business alliance will leverage Toyota’s proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built fully-autonomous vehicle. They added the alliance will create a broad-based ecosystem of hardware and software support designed to help a range of companies utilize advanced mobility technology to better serve customers. Toyota plans to implement testing of the e-Palette Vehicle Concept in several regions, including the United States, as early as 2020.

Starting in early 2018, Pizza Hut and Toyota also will jointly test dual communication technology in Pizza Hut delivery vehicles to capture data on driver patterns and behaviors.  Better data will result in improved performance for both companies, optimize the safety of delivery, as well as enhance delivery operations.

“The common ground between our two global brands is fueled by innovation that enriches people’s lives,” said Zack Hicks, chief executive officer of Toyota Connected. “The e-Palette Alliance and e-Palette fully-autonomous vehicle are major steps in our expansion to advance products and services that help provide mobility for all, and we're thrilled to continue the journey in partnership with Pizza Hut.”

This whole project isn’t some “cheesy” endeavor unique to Toyota.

Back in August, Domino’s Pizza and launched a collaboration to understand the role that self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery.

As part of the testing, Domino’s and Ford indicated researchers from both companies will investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience.  This research is important as both companies begin to examine and understand customers’ perspectives around the future of food delivery with self-driving vehicles.

Soon after the initial announcement, randomly selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Mich., had the opportunity to receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which was to be manually driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Customers who agreed to participate have been able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. They also received text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches meant to guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle.

“I’m delighted that Ann Arbor continues to be at the forefront of autonomous-vehicle research,” Ann Arbor mayor Christopher Taylor said at the time of the announcement. “While it’s pizza delivery today, my hope is that collaborations such as this will enable even more innovations tomorrow.”  

Clark County AA joins ServNet

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

ServNet announced Wednesday that Clark County Auto Auction has been named the newest member of the independent auction group. 

Clark County Auto Auction is located in Jeffersonville, Ind., and serves dealers in the southern part of the state, as well as the Louisville, Ky., market area.

“I join with the owners of ServNet auctions across the country in welcoming the Clark County Auto Auction to ServNet,” ServNet president Eric Autenrieth said in a news release. “The Fetter family has developed their auction facility into an exceedingly well-run operation, built on a culture of exemplary service and strong customer partnerships. We look forward to Matt Fetter’s contributions to our owners’ meetings and know that the auction will represent the ServNet brand well to buyers and sellers in its region.”

Founded in 1982, the auction recently relocated to a new facility that includes a five-lane service building and reconditioning center, along with a 40,000-square foot main building with a seven-lane auction area, administrative offices and a 100-seat restaurant.

Clark County AA was named the 2017 NAAA Midwest Chapter Auto Auction of the Year for outstanding public service.

After moving, the company donated its former auction facility to its local school system. 

The school system named the facility the Mark Fetter Center for Professional Learning after Clark County Auto Auctions late co-founder. The center has space for training 750 teachers.

“Being named a ServNet auction opens an exciting new chapter for us at Clark County Auto Auction,” added third-generation owner Matt Fetter. “In meeting with ServNet auction owners I have been impressed with their knowledge and experience as well as their willingness to share ideas and their vision for the future.  Collaborating with them will strengthen our auction and fortify the markets we serve.”

Alliance Auto Auction taps Auction Management Solutions to boost business development

PLAINFIELD, Ill. - 

Before 2017 closed, Auction Management Solutions (AMS) announced that the firm partnered with Alliance Auto Auction for business development consulting.

Adding this operation brings the firm’s client list to 22 total locations.

“Adding a growing, vibrant family of Texas auctions to the AMS family only makes our entire organization stronger. We are very excited to partner with Tim and the Alliance team,” said Tom Stewart, president of Auction Management Solutions.

“One of our goals here at AMS is to focus on providing our customers with the best service we can, while working through a proven sales strategy to help them grow their business,” Stewart said. 

Founded in Texas in 2011, the Alliance mission was to establish personal and trusted relationships with all customers. Alliance is a rapidly growing family of auctions providing vehicle remarketing services to wholesale dealers and commercial consignors.

Its reputation for “customer service to the extreme” is igniting the company’s expansion into new markets, including Abilene, Dallas, Longview, and Waco.

“We are more than a car auction company; we are in the people business,” Alliance chief executive officer Tim Adams said.  “At Alliance, we feel it is important to define the core values which serve as the backbone of the business, brand and culture.

“These principles define the character of Alliance and guide how every member of the team behaves and makes decisions on a daily basis,” Adams continued.

Adams went on to say the Alliance family is committed to:

• Creating a mutually successful partnership with our customers

• Building trust and cultivating loyalty with every customer

• Pursuing excellence individually and as a team

• Supporting our local community

• Mentoring and developing leadership for growth     

ProMax CRM integrates GM vehicle pricing service

DAVENPORT, Iowa - 

ProMax recently announced that it has integrated GM Vehicle Pricing Service (VPS) features into its customer relationship management software.

GM franchise dealers on ProMax can now access GM VPS features directly from within the platform.

The new integration follows the company’s previous GM data integration with the brand's Dealer Customer Data Exchange (DCDE) earlier this year.

“This is another big step in our planned full GM data service integration effort, and another huge benefit to our GM dealers,” ProMax chief executive officer John Palmer said in a news release. “These new integrations make valuable data available seamlessly within ProMax’s award-winning CRM. We look forward to the continued development of this and other data integrations with the GM team.”

The GM VPS consists of both Incentives Offer Management (IOM) and GM Reward Card information components.

In addition to providing access to incentive compatibility and stackability information directly from GM, via ProMax and ProMax Mobile the GM VPS Reward Card also give dealers access to a customer’s current GM Reward Card earnings.

“ProMax’s participation in General Motors Premium CRM Program began earlier this year with DCDE Customer Search Integration, it continued with IOM, Reward Card integrations, and will continue into 2018 with the additions of Vehicle Invoice Service and Vehicle Locate Service,” the company said.

DealerStar DMS undergoes Ford integration

CLERMONT, Fla. - 

DealerStar announced Thursday that it has completed a new dealer management software integration with Ford that includes over 13 applications relating to warranty claim submissions, financial statements, parts orders and vehicle history.

The integration now allows DealerStar DMS users to interact with Ford without having to leave the DMS app.

“Older DMS systems require the users to leave the DMS screen and log into the separate factory DCS application. DealerStar designed the factory integration as part of the service, parts, sales and accounting apps.” company president Sandi Jerome said in a news release.

Additionally, when a repair order is closed and the warranty claim is created on the DealerStar DMS users can now make changes to claims that will be updated back to the repair order record, according to DealerStar.

“This means higher productivity and prevents ordering or reporting the wrong information to the factory,” added Jerome. “As a profit-focused DMS, DealerStar provides dealers with the tools they need to increase profit with better internal control.”

DealerStar said it will begin installing at Ford dealerships early next year.

Sonic, RumbleOn deal allows for motorcycle trades on car purchases

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 

RumbleOn recently announced that it has partnered with Sonic Automotive in a move that will allow Sonic customers to trade their motorcycle towards the purchase of a car or truck. 

For those unfamiliar with RumbleOn, it is an  e-commerce platform where both consumers and dealers can buy, sell, trade and finance pre-owned motorcycles and other powersport vehicles.

The new partnership boosts RumbleOn’s ability to acquire quality inventory direct from consumers for its marketplace, the company said.

“We are proud to have created a unique online platform, with applications that extend far beyond just enabling RumbleOn to facilitate buying, selling, trading and financing of powersport vehicles. This partnership is the first of its kind, streamlining the process for consumers wanting to sell a motorcycle as part of a car or truck transaction, and offering benefits to both RumbleOn and Sonic,” explained RumbleOn founder and chief executive officer Marshall Chesrown in a news release.

“It expands RumbleOn’s ability to acquire quality inventory from consumers. It is also expected to create a significant benefit to Sonic, enabling them to aggressively trade for motorcycles as part of their car and truck transactions, and generating additional sales while providing enhanced customer service. Importantly, this marks our Company’s first step beyond the traditional powersport industry,” Chesrown continued.

In addition to providing Sonic with instant appraisals and liquidity that allows the company to aggressively trade for motorcycles on their car and truck transactions, RumbleOn said the new partnership with Sonic has also strengthened its ability to scale its direct from consumer acquisition strategy.

“We are excited to work with RumbleOn to enhance our ability to serve our customers. With the support of RumbleOn’s seamless, easy to use online appraisal platform, we can now offer customers the opportunity to trade their motorcycle towards the purchase of a new or used car or truck” added Sonic president Jeff Dyke. “We look forward to working with RumbleOn to continue to offer our customers innovative solutions to current inefficiencies in the marketplace, as we believe RumbleOn will assist Sonic in continuing to provide exceptional customer service.”

Sonic Automotive operates more than 100 dealerships in 13 states and 25 major metropolitan markets.

AMS client list grows to 22 with addition of GMAA

PLAINFIELD, Ill. - 

Auction Management Solutions (AMS) recently partnered with partnered with Greater Milwaukee Auto Auction (GMAA) for business development consulting, growing its client roster to 22.

Founded in 2004 by owner Kristie Letizia, GMAA is the largest independent auto auction in the state of Wisconsin. What originally started as a 15-acre facility has now grown to cover more than 35 acres, running five lanes weekly and offering more than 800 vehicles, featuring a separate state of the art reconditioning facility including a full body shop and an on-site test track.

“We are very excited to be working with the AMS team to help grow our national account base and to increase our national presence,” Letizia said.  “We have a proven track record with accounts like Ally Bank, ARI and General Motors, and we want to bring that same positive experience and expertise to other national consignors. 

“Ultimately these units offered will bring added inventory opportunities to the local dealers that we partner with here at GMAA,” Letizia added.

AMS was started by industry veterans Tom Stewart and Richard Curtis, who along with Jamye Carpenter, Shelly Frank and Cynthia Meyer, provide consulting, training and recruiting services to the automotive industry that include independent auto auctions, service providers and vendors.

“GMAA is an auction powerhouse in their market with a superlative track record, and through their partnership with AMS, we hope to expose this excellent auction location and its remarketing prowess to the national account community,” Stewart said.

“Partnering with strong independent auctions has been a focus since we started AMS in July of 2016,” Stewart continued. “We have developed a comprehensive sales strategy that assists independent auctions to not only grow their consignment business but also their bottom line,” Stewart went on to say.

Adding GMAA brings the total number of AMS auction partners to 22, which also include:

166 Auto Auction
All Valley Dealers Auction
Alliance Auto Auction of Abilene
Alliance Auto Auction of Dallas
Alliance Auto Auction of Longview
Alliance Auto Auction of Waco
Columbus Fair Auto Auction
Central Auto Auction
DAA Chattanooga
DAA Huntsville
DAA Memphis
DAA Mobile
DAA Murfreesboro
Dealers Auto Auction of Idaho
Greater Erie Auto Auction
Greater Quad City Auto Auction
Oklahoma Auto Exchange
Rea Bros Mid-South Auction
Richmond Auto Auction
Rochester Syracuse Auto Auction
Southeastern Auto Auction

CarGurus signs on as NIADA national corporate partner

ARLINGTON, Texas - 

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association announced Tuesday that CarGurus has come aboard as its newest Bronze-level National Corporate Partner.

CarGurus said the new partnership will allow the company to strengthen its collaboration with the independent dealer community.

“We know our members will benefit from the valuable shopper connections CarGurus' platform delivers,” NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said in a news release announcing the new partnership. “CarGurus' commitment to transparency and helping car shoppers find great deals from top-rated dealers fits perfectly with how NIADA members approach their businesses.”

In addition to premium tools that help dealers price, market and sell their inventory, CarGurus can provide dealers with ready-to-buy shoppers and offers them subscription packages designed to drive shopper connections, according to the company.

“CarGurus' technology is designed to make car shopping better for both sellers and buyers, and we are excited to bring that offering to NIADA members,” added Josh Allen, CarGurus vice president of North American sales. “Digital marketing has become increasingly important for independent car dealers, and we're looking forward to helping NIADA's members drive more customer connections and achieve better results.”