Partnerships and Integration

Pearl integrates Experian's propensity scoring platform

DALLAS - 

Pearl Technology Holdings announced it has expanded its relationship with Experian to integrate its propensity scoring platform, designed to target consumers who have the highest propensity to make a purchase or lease a vehicle within a particular period of time.

Pearl now has the capability to calculate more than 1,000 elements when scoring a consumer’s propensity to buy or lease.

“We are simply thrilled to expand our relationship with Experian. We contemplated building our own scoring methodology, but ultimately there is no better data or analytic interpreter than Experian,” Pearl chief executive officer and founder Bruce Thompson said in a news release.

“Understanding what consumers are likely to purchase or lease, as well as when, is what it’s all about. Overlaying our existing technology on top of 240 million pre-screened records allows our clients to win big with much less investment. No more wasted advertising dollars with a shotgun approach. This new integrated platform gives Pearl one of the most powerful and accurate vehicle marketing system in the industry,” he continued.

Additionally, the newly enhanced platform enables Pearl to help dealers identify and market to pre-owned buyers, who amount to the largest segment of buyers, according to the company.

“We’re excited to continue our work with the Pearl team,” said John Gray, Experian automotive business unit president. “Understanding the current market landscape and when a consumer is in the market to buy is critical for automotive dealers and OEMs alike. With these insights available, dealers will be able to unlock the potential of the data and to uncover new pockets of opportunity, increase profitability and improve the overall consumer experience.”

Pearl’s incentive-based marketing platform VehicleXchange evaluates nearly 50,000 Experian consumer pre-screens per day for dealer and OEM clients.

PERQ joins growing CDK Global Partner Program

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS - 

PERQ is the latest company to join the expanding CDK Global Partner Program, the company announced Thursday.

The program recently reached over 350 partners and 450 unique applications, according to CDK.

“The continued expansion of the CDK Partner Program plays a critical role in our ability to enable end-to-end automotive commerce for our customers,” CDK Data Services vice president and general manager Howard Gardner said in a news release.

“We want to provide dealers with more choices and ultimately help them deliver a better customer experience through increased integration with CDK systems and partner applications. We look forward to further broadening the range of solutions available to support dealer operations and the marketing of dealership inventory and services,” he said.

PERQ’s Online Guided Shopping Solution, designed to increase leads and improve close rates for dealerships, is now part of the program’s marketplace of applications.

“We’re very pleased to introduce PERQ as the newest member of the CDK Global Partner Program,” added Gardner. “PERQ is a welcome addition to our vibrant program that provides dealers with a range of partner choices and the assurance that their programs can be seamlessly integrated with our applications.”

The program fosters data and workflow integration between CDK products and partner applications. Participants can integrate with a range of CDK applications and CDK dealer websites.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the CDK Global Partner Program, which will make it easy for forward-thinking dealerships to take advantage of our unique online guided shopping solution,” said Stephanie Ragozzino, executive vice president of product at PERQ. “PERQ helps dealers make better online connections with buyers by creating an online guided shopping environment that rivals the experiences consumers get from big brand websites – all with just one line of code on their existing website.”

CarMD and CARCHEX partner to provide drivers extended warranty coverage savings

IRVINE, Calif. - 

CarMD and CARCHEX announced a new partnership to provide CarMD Garage customers with $100 off CARCHEX Vehicle Protection Plans.

“This partnership enables us to connect with CarMD’s audience of vehicle owners who seem to appreciate insight to help reduce the cost of car ownership,” CARCHEX chief executive officer Jason Goldsmith said in a news release. “Your automobile is most likely your second largest investment that you use on a day to day basis. A CARCHEX Vehicle Protection Plan will ensure that your vehicle is in the best mechanical condition and can help you avoid expensive repair bills.”

CarMD Garage reports are based millions of in-use repairs compiled by CarMD for over two decades, according to the company.

In minutes, using drives vehicle information, the online service can help drivers make educated decisions via insights and upcoming repair predictions.

“This partnership with CARCHEX is a value-add for CarMD customers who tend to be cost-conscious when it comes to their cars and trucks,” added David Rich, CarMD’s technical director. “CARCHEX’s Vehicle Protection Plans nicely complement our CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Reports that provide vehicle owners with insight on the likelihood and costs of upcoming maintenance and repairs, as well as warranty, recall and other cost of ownership details.”

Black Book becomes AutoAlert valuation partner

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

Black Book announced Thursday it has partnered with AutoAlert to populate the data-mining and communication solution’s algorithms with its vehicle valuation data.

“With the addition of Black Book, our dealer customers will have access to the industry’s most accurate vehicle valuation data, which can make a significant difference in elevating profit potential,"  AutoAlert general manager and executive vice president Meg Stapleton said in a news release. “Today’s dealership environment requires resources and partners that are trusted by automotive professionals, particularly in an effort to grow their business and maximize sales potential.”

With Black Book as its valuation partner, dealers using AutoAlert can maximize sales opportunities and profit potential when making trade valuations as well as during service and repair visits, the company said.

“Data and equity mining are practices that are not necessarily new to the automotive world, but recently have become even more critical as dealers continue to find ways to maximize profits in light of a sales environment that has begun to plateau,” said Jared Kalfus, senior vice president of Black Book. “As such, dealers need the most accurate vehicle valuation data in order to effectively leverage all data practices, and we’re proud to know they can rely on Black Book to put them in the best possible position.”

INFINITI introduces new Amazon Alexa Skills for vehicle voice control

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 

INFINITI drivers in the U.S. can now control vehicle features such as unlocking, locking, remote-start and more using newly integrated Amazon Alexa Skills designed to interact with their vehicles, the company announced Tuesday.

INFINITI said it has expanded already-available features within INFINITI InTouch Services and INFINITI Connection to integrate the new Amazon Alexa Skills now available.

"We are pleased to offer this new technology in conjunction with Amazon Alexa to INFINITI owners, who have come to expect exciting innovations and conveniences from our brand," INFINITI Americas vice president Randy Parker said in a news release.

"We are not only about bringing premium features to luxury vehicles, but we are also looking to the advancements that will take our cars, and the transportation space, into the future."

Via the Alexa Skills Store, INFINITI owners with INFINITI InTouch Services or Infiniti Connection equipped with their vehicle can access the new skills that enable voice commands.

The Alexa integration requires owners to have active subscriptions to INFINITI InTouch Services or INFINITI Connection.

Once set up, owners can ask Alexa to remote lock/unlock, honk the horn, flash the lights and start or stop the engine depending on the model.

For other commands such as remote start, a 4-digit pin is also required for added security.

The following is a list of the current INFINITI models the Amazon Alexa Skills are now available on:

INFINITI InTouch Services:

•           2018: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q60, QX60, Q70, QX80

•           2017: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q60, QX60

•           2016: Q50, Q50 Hybrid

INFINITI Connection:

•           2017: Q70, QX80

•           2016: Q70, Q70 Hybrid, QX60, QX60 Hybrid, QX80

•           2015: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q70, Q70 Hybrid, QX60, QX60 Hybrid, QX80

•           2014: Q50, Q70, QX60, QX80

•           2013: M37, M56, JX35, QX56

INFINITI said it plans to expand the voice control technology to additional models in the future.

NIADA picks Wheel’s Automotive as exclusive supplier of CPO point-of-sale tools

ARLINGTON, Texas and NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - 

A service provider sporting relationships with nearly 20 automakers now is in place to help independent dealerships retail certified metal.

Wheel’s Automotive Dealer Supplies has been selected by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association as the exclusive supplier of point-of-sale merchandising, collateral and printing services for the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program.

Wheel’s Automotive, which also services 19 CPO programs for OEMs and other providers and has some 9,000 dealership clients, can combine all the elements of a successful national CPO program into one phone call or click, according to the company.

The NIADA CPO program now includes Wheel’s print-on-demand and direct-from-manufacturer convenience to furnish NIADA member dealers with the exact customized CPO marketing materials desired.

Print-on-demand means highly customized printed items are delivered practically overnight in most cases to support dealers’ CPO sales and marketing efforts.

“Wheel's Automotive represents best-in-class promotional tools and marketing resources for our CPO program dealerships,” NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said. “That allows our member dealers to more effectively compete in the CPO marketplace with new car franchise stores and enhances their ability to differentiate their digital and physical lot inventory, driving increased inventory turn, gross margin and customer loyalty.”

Renee Perri, vice president of Wheel’s Corporate Division and a member of Auto Remarketing’s annual Remarketing & Used-Car Industry’s 40 Under 40, welcomed the opportunity to work with independent dealers.

“Independent dealers are a vital part of the automotive retail industry,” Perri said. “Proper signage and marketing materials can help them merchandise and market CPO inventory with more authority and appeal as they service the transportation needs of a wide variety of consumers.”

For more information, contact Perri at (800) 465-8831, ext. 105, or visit www.wheelsauto.com.

Fastlane selects Market Scan to be financial data supplier

CARY, N.C. - 

Fastlane announced it has chosen Market Scan to be the company’s financial data supplier.

Market Scan will provide the company with both real-time payment and rebate information tracked from car manufacturers, banks and credit unions.

Fastlane offers dealers both an Amazon-like checkout process and a customized car-buying experience tailored to each dealer’s individual branding, messaging and sales needs.

“The payment transaction is clearly one of the most important aspects of the online car buying checkout process, and we wanted to partner with a highly trusted and reliable data supplier who would give our customers accurate lease and retail payment information,” Fastlane vice president of sales Dave Luce said in a news release.

“We looked at other data providers in this space and we believe Market Scan fits the bill perfectly.”

Additionally, the platform also allows buyers to purchase a vehicle directly from car dealer’s websites.

The platform is designed to facilitate purchasing process tasks, such as deliver dealers price information, warranty and service contract options, aftermarket product options, trade-in evaluations and accurate retail and lease payment information on vehicles.

“The Market Scan team is very pleased to partner with Fastlane,” added Rusty West, Market Scan’s president and co-founder. “This new company is clearly — and quickly — going to have a significant impact on the way car dealers bring their inventory to the online car-buying world and we’re proud that Fastlane considers us to be a valuable part of their growing success.”

AutoWeb finalizes license agreement with DealerX

IRVINE, Calif. - 

A day after officially changing its name, dealership lead provider AutoWeb — formerly Autobytel —  on Tuesday entered into a license agreement with DealerX Partners,a provider of data-driven marketing products for car dealerships and OEMs.

Under the terms of the agreement, AutoWeb will receive a perpetual license to access and use DealerX’s proprietary platform and technology for targeted online marketing. The company indicated this process will be implemented through the creation of consumer information databases and audiences, which will allow AutoWeb to generate traffic, clicks, and leads.

Officials explained DealerX will operate the platform for AutoWeb and provide enhancements to and support for the platform for an initial five-year period, which may be extended in perpetuity.

“Today, most dealers know very little about users of their websites and many display the same message to all users—a ‘one size fits all’ strategy,” AutoWeb president and chief executive officer Jeff Coats said in a news release. “Dealers can only hope that the offers presented are relevant and attractive.

“At AutoWeb, our critical mission is to know what users want and when they want it in order to deliver the best marketing at the best time — and to deliver that user to the right dealership at the right time,” Coats continued. “In DealerX, we have found a powerful partner in this mission, and we look forward to leveraging the DealerX platform to further capitalize on the evolving consumer and automotive marketplace.”

At the end of 2016, AutoWeb promoted Billy Ferriolo to chief operating officer to accelerate improvements in its clicks and lead generation businesses. AutoWeb said this licensing arrangement is a prime example of that improvement.

 “DealerX has created a unique, all-in-one automotive online marketing platform encompassing data collection, activation, analytics and attribution,” Ferriolo said. “Its platform employs extensive machine learning in the determination of what content to show which consumer across multiple devices, where and when. This is all derived from the real-time capture and scoring of consumer-driven behavioral events.

“We look forward to using this audience intelligence to deliver a better car-buying experience for consumers,” he went on to say.

AutoWeb mentioned the transaction consideration consists of a lump-sum payment to DealerX of $8.0 million upon the execution of the agreement.

During the initial five-year support period, DealerX will have the ability to earn shares of AutoWeb common stock representing approximately 5 percent of AutoWeb’s outstanding common stock if AutoWeb’s market capitalization reaches $225 million.

If these shares are issued to DealerX, its obligation to provide platform operation, enhancements and support for the platform will continue in perpetuity.

Alternatively, AutoWeb may elect to make a lump-sum payment of $12.5 million upon the occurrence of certain events in order to extend DealerX’s obligations in perpetuity. If such a lump-sum payment is made, DealerX’s right to receive shares of common stock is terminated.

Tax and stock implications

As of Dec. 31, AutoWeb reported that it had approximately $75.8 million in available net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

In light of the company’s recent stock repurchases, the company reminds stockholders about AutoWeb’s Tax Benefit Preservation Plan dated May 26, 2010, as amended on April 14, 2014 and May 26 of this year between the company and Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as rights agent.

AutoWeb explained the plan was adopted by the company’s board of directors to preserve the company’s NOLs and other tax attributes, and thus reduce the risk of a possible change of ownership under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any such change of ownership under Section 382 would limit or eliminate the ability of the company to use its existing NOLs for federal income tax purposes.

In general, AutoWeb pointed out that an ownership change will occur if the company’s 5 percent shareholders, for purposes of Section 382, collectively increase their ownership in the company by an aggregate of more than 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. The plan is designed to reduce the likelihood that the company experiences such an ownership change by discouraging any person or group from becoming a new 5 percent shareholder under Section 382.

The company acknowledged rights issued under the plan could be triggered upon the acquisition by any person or group of 4.9 percent or more of the company’s outstanding common stock and could result in substantial dilution of the acquirer’s percentage ownership in the company.

“There is no guarantee that the Plan will achieve the objective of preserving the value of the company’s NOLs,” officials said.

As of Oct. 1, there were 13,082,948 shares of the company’s common stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding.

“Persons or groups considering the acquisition of shares of beneficial ownership of the company’s common stock should first evaluate their percentage ownership based on this revised outstanding share number to ensure that the acquisition of shares does not result in beneficial ownership of 4.9 percent or more of outstanding shares,” officials said.

In connection with the license agreement, the company’s board of directors considered and granted to DealerX an exemption under the plan with respect to the shares of common stock that may be issued to DealerX under the license agreement, and DealerX and the company entered into a stockholder agreement that provides for various restrictions on transfers of the shares and the grant of a proxy to the company to vote the shares as long as the restrictions remain in effect.

For more information about the Plan, please visit investor.autoweb.com/tax.cfm.

Jumpstart enters new advertising partnership with VehicleHistory.com

SAN FRANCISCO - 

Jumpstart Automotive Media has a new exclusive advertising partnership with VehicleHistory.com, the company announced Tuesday.

The auto research website utilizes over 42 million data points and records to provide consumers with automotive research information and content on U.S. vehicles.

On the site, visitors can find automotive research, reviews and free vehicle history reports (VHRs).

“Shopping for a car is one of life’s biggest decisions, and the vast amount of information on the Internet doesn’t make it any easier. By providing consumers the unique combination of research, reviews and free VHRs, VehicleHistory.com is taking some of the uncertainty and inconvenience out of the car-buying process,” Jumpstart chief executive officer Nick Matarazzo said in a news release. “As we continue to look for new ways to add more value to our advertising partners, this partnership is a natural fit.”

In addition to filed police reports on specific vehicles, when available, VehicleHistory.com also offers consumers images of any damage a vehicle has incurred.

“Jumpstart has strong OEM and dealer relationships and is a leader in the marketplace for developing unique, custom, high-performing marketing programs. They continue to elevate the digital auto shopping experience, and this consumer-centric approach will be a huge win for our audience,” Jennifer Mitchell, chief executive officer of VehicleHistory.com, said. 

RMS Automotive revamps PSA Groupe’s dealer web portal

MUNICH - 

RMS Automotive announced Tuesday it has redesigned the dealer web portal of its partner and client PSA Groupe to optimize the platform's customer experience and help dealers conveniently access stock.

The French car manufacturer's dealer portal MOVE was launched in 2012 and has since sold more than 600,000 vehicles to 13,000 plus dealers, according to RMS.

Newly implemented changes to the revamped portal follow a user satisfaction research study RMS Automotive and PSA Groupe provided its dealer audience earlier this year.

“We are committed to developing agile solutions with the dealer in mind,” PSA Groupe head of international wholesale used car operations Christian Vanoni said in a news release.

“The solutions that RMS Automotive bring to PSA Groupe ensure that we are channeling the right vehicles to the right dealers at the right times, and that the buying experience for the dealers is a positive one.”

The enhanced MOVE portal is available in all PSA Groupe operational markets.

MOVE monitors bidding and purchasing activity in real-time, and dealers can access the portal on any device.

“The enhanced PSA Groupe dealer portal underscores our commitment to producing innovations that are highly responsive to our clients’ needs,” Sebastian Fuchs, senior director of RMS Automotive European sales and marketing said.

“The enhanced dealer portal ensures that PSA Groupe is at the forefront of innovative technology solutions and ensures that their dealers are able to access stock when and where convenient for them. The new portal aims to create a truly positive user experience that is personal, compelling, positive and memorable based on in-depth understanding of how mobile users browse for and purchase products,” he explained.

In addition to access to historical data and VIN-based vehicle details such as condition reports via MOVE, users can also take advantage of flexible bid, purchase and delivery options.

MOVE is currently live in 22 countries.