Products/Software

eBay Motors introduces online repair manuals

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 

eBay Motors recently announced that it now offers online repair manuals as an add-on purchase when shoppers buy a part or accessory on eBay.com.

Consumers have access to online repair manuals for over 80 percent of vehicles on the road, according to eBay.

“With online repair manuals, we are taking the shopping experience one step further for our buyers by providing them with the parts and resources – including expert instructions – that can help shoppers make their rides an extension of their unique individuality and meet their needs,” eBay Motors vice president of parts and accessories Todd Madeiros said in a news release.

“With three parts or accessories sold on eBay every second, our end-to-end services offer huge value to our shoppers,” he said.

Online repair manuals can be viewed using an access code delivered by email following a purchase.

Additionally, all manuals can be purchased to own for 14 days, 90 days or a full year, according to eBay.

To view eBay’s selection of available manuals, visit ebay.com/motors.

EY plunges into blockchain & fleet management with new platform

NEW YORK - 

Assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services provider EY is looking to make a connection of blockchain technology with vehicle-fleet management.

On Wednesday, EY today announced the launch of Tesseract, an integrated mobility platform underpinned by blockchain technology.

The company highlighted the platform is designed to facilitate fractional vehicle ownership, shared use and seamless multimodal transport. EY added that the platform can help lay the groundwork for how autonomous vehicle fleets can be owned in the future and provide access to a variety of on-demand mobility options.

EY said that Tesseract solves core mobility issues such as how to share vehicle ownership with widespread shared-use and how a multitude of mobility options can be integrated. As participants on a single platform, multiple stakeholders such as OEMs, mobility and transport companies, and cities and infrastructure providers, among others, will have the opportunity to create new value and revenue streams.

“The future of the automotive and transportation industry will be integrated, on-demand, personalized and autonomous,” EY global automotive and transportation leader Randy Miller said in a news release.

“Tesseract is a groundbreaking, innovative platform that benefits every stakeholder across the mobility ecosystem. We want Tesseract to break down barriers to entry for all stakeholders, provide the means for mobility as a service and facilitate a truly integrated ecosystem that puts consumers first in the future mobility marketplace."

With Tesseract, single vehicles, fleets and other transport services are available on the platform. Vehicles and trips are digitally logged on the blockchain, and transactions are automatically settled between owners, operators and third-party service providers through a single-source, usage-based payment system.

Ownership of the assets is flexible and can be on a full or fractional share basis.

“Tesseract will allow operators to innovate, commercialize and scale new mobility businesses and revenue models. Vehicle utilization will increase, reducing wastage and ultimately creating a greener, more sustainable transport world,” Miller said.

With new business models and income streams that will be created, EY sees funding of expensive assets such as batteries and charging infrastructure will become much easier. Investors, crowd-funders and everyday users will be able to earn money from their investment based on others' usage of vehicles and individuals who could not previously afford a vehicle will now be able to own a share of a vehicle.

“The time has come for blockchain to reshape the automotive industry,” said Paul Brody, EY’s global innovation leader of blockchain.

“Using blockchain for automotive services permits true peer-to-peer interactions between owners with minimal infrastructure requirements,” Brody continued. “Data can be stored permanently and managed securely while automated permission and transaction processing will be made much easier.”  

Dealers embrace solar energy technology with SunPower

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 

Solar technology provider SunPower is now working with dealerships across the country to put empty rooftops and parking lots to better use with cost-saving, high-efficiency solar energy systems.

In addition to producing enough energy to significantly curtail dealership's electricity costs, SunPower said systems serve a dual purpose because solar panels can also protect what’s beneath them, such as roofs or a fleet of vehicles.

"It's no surprise that an increasing number of auto customers find solar to be a reliable, effective way to reduce electric bills while freeing up operating capital and improving their environment with emission-free energy," SunPower executive vice president Nam Nguyen said in a news release. "Through relentless innovation, SunPower has created smart, simple, and cost-effective solar systems that allow businesses in any industry maximize their investment, earning more savings over time."

In Minnesota, SunPower dealer Energy Concepts sold, designed and installed 454 kilowatts of solar across 10 locations of Luther Auto Group.

The group’s combined installations are projected to generate more than $2.1 million in electricity cost savings over 25 years, according to SunPower.

"Solar just makes good business sense in today's energy environment, and has become integral to many of our facilities' energy-efficient designs," said Linda McGinty, vice president of real estate at Luther Auto. "Over the last five years, we've worked with Energy Concepts to install over 450 kilowatts of high-efficiency SunPower solar at 10 of our dealerships across Minnesota, and have seen significant energy savings as a result."

Covert Auto of Texas currently has 125.6 kilowatts of solar installed on the roofs of the group’s Ford and Chevy dealerships in Hutto.

SunPower said the systems are expected to yield over $500,000 in energy savings over 25 years and meet 53 percent of Covert Auto’s current electricity needs.

Additionally, in Colorado, SunPower dealer Independent Power Systems installed more than 50 kilowatts of rooftop solar at Boulder Nissan.

When combined with the dealership's recent upgrade to LED lighting, the system currently meets 20 percent of Boulder Nissan’s electricity needs. The system is expected to generate $384,000 in energy savings over 25 years, according to SunPower.

"It's inspiring to help auto dealers see a return on their solar investment in five to seven years, with some becoming cash-flow positive in as little as one month," said Ryan Ferrero, chief executive officer of Ignyte Lab which partnered with Independent Power Systems. "When we can show auto dealership owners the financial benefits of using renewable energy and adopting sustainable business practices, high-quality solar energy solutions end up selling themselves. And with more than 17,000 new car dealers across the U.S., there's a huge opportunity to help more in the industry save on electricity costs with solar."

In addition to car dealers, SunPower also works with automakers like Toyota. At the Toyota Motor North America's new headquarters in Plano, Texas, the company said it is currently working with Toyota to install an 8.79-megawatt system that is expected to be the state’s largest corporate office on-site solar installation of a non-utility company.

Pearl integrates KBB Instant Cash Offer into express retail platform

DALLAS - 

Pearl Technology Holdings announced Wednesday it has entered into a new agreement to integrate Kelley Blue Book’s Instant Cash Offer within its ShowroomXpress (SRX) retail platform.

The integration allows consumers shopping through the SRX retail widget to get a real instant cash offer for their current vehicle.

Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer asks car owners to answer questions about their vehicle and returns a real cash offer they can apply to another vehicle or use to sell the vehicle.

“Adding the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer to our ShowroomXpress experience will enable dealers to change the way they retail cars with a few lines of code. The added functionality of Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer will be transformative to dealers wanting to offer a different online and in-store express retail experience,” Pearl chief executive officer and founder of Bruce Thompson said in a news release.

“While we believe our dynamic widget is the most powerful automotive express retail initiative in the industry, the missing element was a credible and instant offer for a consumer’s vehicle. Instant Cash Offer provides that with the added benefit of the trusted Kelley Blue Book brand.  We are very excited to be working with Kelley Blue Book on what we believe is an inevitable shift in the way vehicles are sold in the U.S.,” Thompson continued.

Additionally, ShowroomXpress displays purchase and lease offers, and the consumer can configure their transaction and pick an ideal payment.

Payments are integrated into the dealer’s finance and insurance screens anytime, and Customers or sales personnel can freely alter terms and payment changes based on regional lender programs, according to Pearl.

“Pearl is on the cutting edge with its ShowroomXpress system, and we are very pleased to be working with the Pearl team on this initiative,” added Damon Bennett senior director of syndication at KBB.

Contact At Once! aquires new patent for mobile messaging

ATLANTA - 

Contact At Once! announced Monday that the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued it a patent for a system designed to analyze messages and initiate communication sessions for clients.

The new patent was developed to enhance the service that Contact At Once! customers are able to provide consumers who wish to communicate with businesses via chat and mobile messaging sessions, according to the company.

"Contact At Once! has continually invested in technological innovations to allow in-market shoppers and businesses to message at scale through a variety of media,” Contact At Once! vice president of product and strategy Marc Hayes said in a news release.

“This latest patent is another example of our commitment to helping our brands seamlessly connect with consumers in innovative ways that are most convenient for shoppers," he said.

Additionally, the company said the newly acquired patent expands on another recent patent by Contact At Once! that features a system and method for publishing online advertisements and search results.

CDK Global Partners with ActivEngage to create chat tool for sales

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - 

CDK Global announced recently that it has partnered with ActivEngage to create Concierge Chat, a messaging tool built directly into CDK Next Gen Websites.

The integration of Concierge Chat with the CDK platform provides customers with a professionally managed chat service fitted with features designed to help to drive qualified sales opportunities, the company said.

“The integration of Concierge Chat into our Next Gen websites further builds upon the fully responsive platform we’ve developed to allow dealers to connect with their customers no matter how they shop,” CDK Global vice president of product management Max Steckler said in a news release.

“As the industry continues to be flooded with standalone product innovation while lacking best-in-class integration, the creation of Concierge Chat is just one example of how CDK is meeting the challenge and enabling end-to-end automotive commerce via an open exchange,” he explained.

Concierge Chat’s notable features include:

• behavioral technology

• inventory sharing

• data mining technology

• seamless integration

ActivEngage joined the CDK Global Partner Program when it launched last year.

Currently, the program includes over 15 partners whose services are optimized and integrated across CDK Website workflows.

“CDK Global recognizes the power of giving consumers the opportunity to interact with dealers in real time via messaging solutions like chat, text or social media,” said Todd Smith, ActivEngage chief executive officer.

“Our partnership with CDK Global will allow our company to share new innovations that will help consumers navigate the purchasing journey more effectively, while creating better results for the dealer,” he added.

Podium welcomes new VP & 2 partnerships to collect dealer reviews

CARY, N.C. - 

Podium recently announced the appointment of Matt Murray as senior vice president of strategic accounts as well as new partnerships with DealerSocket and DealerVault.

Podium’s latest integration with DealerSocket and DealerVault automates dealers' common interactions, such as collecting reviews and sending text messages.

The new partnerships will allow dealers using DealerSocket and DealerVault to integrate Podium technology with their existing dealer management systems, according to the company.

“With the addition of these partners Podium now covers nearly every franchise dealer in the country," said Murray in an email interview with Auto Remarketing.

Prior to his current role, Murray most recently served as vice president of strategic growth and retail solutions at Cox Automotive, Dealertrack Technologies and Dealer.com. As senior vice president of strategic accounts, Murray has been tasked with overseeing Podium’s cross-vertical strategic account strategy.

He said both DealerSocket and DealerVault customers have reported substantial increases in total reviews captured since the integration.

“Podium’s integration points automate a significant portion of the reviews process for dealerships, alleviating the burden from employees, and ultimately optimizing their local SEO strategy,” Murray explained. “We are helping to ensure that they will get found, get chosen, and receive valuable insights from both new and existing customers."

According to Podium, its recent growth within the automotive sector follows a $32 million Series A funding round from investors such as Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Y Combinator.

“We're delighted to now support a broad network of solutions providers in the automotive space, giving a significant number of dealerships a better way to interact with their customers throughout the entire customer journey, and foster valuable, long-lasting relationships,” Podium chief executive officer and co-founder Eric Rea said in a news release announcing the new partnerships.

Pearl adds payment calculation widget to on-demand auto retail platform

DALLAS - 

Pearl Technology Holdings announced Thursday that it has enhanced its on-demand automotive retail platform ShowroomXpress, also known as SRX, with the release of a dynamic website widget that can calculate and present six different payments to car buyers in seconds.

The new SRX website widget functions within the SRP and VDP levels of dealers’ websites and provides deal transparency for consumers buying any vehicle in a dealer’s inventory. The widget’s calculation engine is powered by a robust desking tool designed to integrate with all U.S. auto lenders, according to Pearl.

Payment for both purchase and lease transactions can be calculated with built in dealer finance mark-up.

“We believe our new dynamic widget will help dealers usher in a new era of auto retailing,” Pearl chief executive officer and founder Bruce Thompson said in a news release.

“With a few lines of code, a dealer can immediately empower his website with real payments, allowing a customer to desk their own transaction and pick their ideal payment and protection package. The transaction terms can be saved and sent to dealership CRM tools, so it’s a seamless process to pick up the consumer record and finalize the transaction,” he explained.

Calculations performed by SRX include the customer’s trade-in value, sales tax, doc fees, F&I packages and OEM incentives.

The addition of the widget to Pearl’s SRX platform creates a more pleasing retail environment for walk-in customers because it allows sales teams to quickly share real payments on every unit in inventory within seconds, the company said.

“We believe consumers are looking for a much more transparent and efficient car buying process and therefore created a tool that is easily installed on a website. It also has CRM integrations and very little training is necessary,” Thompson added. “Our dynamic widget is much more advanced than anything we see in the industry today.”

A small group of franchised dealerships piloted the new SRX widget in the spring.

The average dealer’s website analytics reported more than 4000 performed personalized payment calculations per month on their website using the SRX widget during the pilot period, according to Pearl.

For more information about the SRX widget or to sign up for a demonstration, visit pearlsolutions.com/srx.

Online video provider launches ad-serving TV service with AutoDealerNetwork

LAS VEGAS - 

Advertising online video provider Vidillion recently announced its partnership with AutoDealerNetwork.TV to provide dealership customers visiting sales and service waiting rooms with up-to-the-minute news, entertainment and targeted and programmatic ad-serving from Vidillion.

Vidillion allows dealers to both feature their own commercials and block any commercials of their competitors.

The new service’s private live TV network to dealerships includes news, sports, travel, lifestyle, business and weather content from the portfolio of networks provided by Turner, a Time Warner company.

“The AutoDealerNetwork.TV product gives dealerships the ability to feature their commercials- whether that means dealership or auto brand specific spots- while blocking competitor's commercials,” Vidillion president and chief executive officer Tom Engdahl said in a news release. “We feel that is a big deal and really brings a level of targeting into a space that can certainly benefit from local spots hyper-tailored for each market.”

More than 50 northern and southeastern U.S. dealerships took part in the initial launch of the content and monetization network in May.

This year, an additional 3,000 plus dealerships throughout the U.S. are expected to launch the service, according to Vidillion.

“A single AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box and one TV will display approximately 7,000 to 10,000 commercials each month regarding your products and services,” said Dirk Newsome, operations manager at AutoDealerNetwork.TV.

“If multiple boxes are installed in a property, the revenue opportunities and ability to reach customers in a meaningful way with special offers and direct dealership storytelling are exponential,” he said.

Dealerships can install an AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box for use with existing TVs.

"This service has unlimited uses and can be applied in auto sales & service businesses, but also in healthcare, spa services and any environment where there is a waiting room," added Engdahl.

Car Keys Express enters retail space with new in-store solution

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - 

Car Keys Express has entered the retail market with the introduction of Car Keys Express NOW!, an in-store version of their mobile key replacement system.

The new automotive key replacement solution is compact and packaged into a customer-facing, retail-friendly cabinet that minimizes retailers’ investment in tools, training and inventory, according to the company.

“Car Keys Express NOW! takes the compact system that grew Car Keys Express into a nationwide success and translates it for retail use,” the company said in a news release announcing the launch.

The customer-facing cabinet features marketing graphics to attract consumers and a tablet-based application guide for key prices and availability.

The Car Keys Express NOW! system will be available in multiple configurations that are based on how many vehicles retailers want to cover.

Car Keys’ standard option is the Universal Car Remote, a stand-alone consumer product that covers up to 67 million vehicles and requires no tools.

Retailers already offering key cutting services can supplement their existing catalog to cover additional vehicles, according to the company.

"It's an easy sell," said Kirk Stewart, Car Keys Express NOW! marketing manager. "It creates a new revenue stream for a minimal investment."

After a customer selects their car's year, make and model, a store employee assists with cutting and programming keys.

Car Keys provides a training program that aims to have employees cutting keys within hours, the company said.

"Car Keys Express NOW! gives retailers the opportunity to make great margins, incremental sales and increase store traffic by offering consumers an easy and affordable option to dealership key replacement," added Stewart. "For the first time in 30 years, real automotive key replacement is coming back to retail."