Partnerships and Integration

AIADA adds Google as newest affinity partner


Now members of the American International Automobile Dealers Association say they’re going to “Google” something, it could have a vastly different meaning.

On Wednesday, AIADA announced a new affinity partnership with Google.

The association highlighted that Google’s automotive team supports manufacturers and dealers by enabling them to reach the right audience with the right message in the right moments.

The team is responsible for bringing the best of Google’s consumer insights, both national and regional, to their clients to empower them to make more informed marketing and business decisions.

Google is the only company endorsed by AIADA in this unique online space.

“Today’s announcement marks the addition of Google’s innovations in web search and advertising that have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world,” AIADA president Cody Lusk said.

“As our members move their marketing dollars from more traditional advertising venues to online, it is increasingly important that we have partnerships to help them navigate this crucial transition to the web,” Lusk continued.

Meanwhile, AIADA and Google are collaborating on a free webinar to help managers and their store teams in a session titled, “Modern Search for Automotive Dealerships.”

The free webinar will be presented by Kelly McNearney, senior automotive strategist at Google and Peter Leto, head of industry automotive retail sales at Google. McNearney and Leto plan to discuss:

1. The latest data on automotive shoppers

2. How to identify and communicate with customers in your market

There are two opportunities to watch the webinar on June 19 with a session set for 10 a.m. ET and another session scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. Store personnel can register for the free event by going to this website.

AIADA emphasized that it researches hundreds of companies serving the automobile industry and selects only those firms that provide the highest value and quality products, sales, and services to participate in the member benefits program as an affinity partner.

For more information, visit

Recon tech provider joins CDK partner program


Automotive reconditioning software provider AutoMobile Technologies has become the latest member to join the large CDK Global third-party partner program.

As an approved CDK Partner, AutoMobile Technologies is now part of a marketplace of applications and integration choices developed to help automotive dealers compete.

The integration of AutoMobile Technologies’ ReconMonitor solution with the CDK Drive DMS can provide dealers an enhanced way to gain full visibility of each vehicle as it moves through the reconditioning process.

“CDK Global understands the value of efficient supply chain management in vehicle reconditioning,” AutoMobile Technologies chief executive officer Paul Maximov said in a news release. “Dealers lose an average of $35 to $50 per day that cars spend undergoing reconditioning.

“Our solutions work to reduce costly delays and make better vehicle recon decisions early in the cycle, resulting in better inventory availability and ultimately, increased margins on vehicles sold,” Maximov explained.

AutoMobile Technologies’s ReconMonitor software is designed to provide dealers “end-to-end” visibility during the reconditioning process by identifying vendor inefficiencies that can have an impact on total cycle time.

Along with tools for parts and labor management and real-time reporting, the newly integrated solution features both mobile and desktop modules that can help notify users about any reconditioning work needed to be completed.

“We’re very pleased to welcome AutoMobile Technologies Inc. as the newest member of the CDK Global Partner Program,” said CDK Data Services vice president and general manager Howard Gardner. “In joining our vibrant program, AutoMobile Technologies Inc. will bring new skills, solutions, and choices for our dealers to choose from, which will seamlessly integrate with our applications.”

Ally adds Westlake Financial vehicles to auction platform


Westlake Financial Services has teamed up with Ally Financial to include its cars on Ally's SmartAuction online auction platform.

The Westlake vehicles, which include a variety of brands, have been available to dealers registered on SmartAuction since May 1.

"We are excited to team with Westlake, a growing national leader in the automotive industry, to be part of its remarketing strategy," Steve Kapusta, vice president, specialized asset management for Ally said in a news release. "We look forward to putting the value of SmartAuction and our digital remarketing support to work for Westlake by providing greater reach and convenience for their vehicles in the wholesale marketplace."

Ian Anderson, group president of Westlake Holdings, added: "This relationship with Ally Financial will provide a new digital access point to buyers as we see the remarketing industry become more visible online via auto auctions.Our commitment is to continue to enhance our operational efficiency while connecting with our customers' vehicle buying experience."

SmartAuction offers eligible dealers access to an inventory of over 25,000 vehicles daily.

Purchases made through the SmartAuction platform are backed by a comprehensive arbitration policy, according to Ally.

Volvo announces venture to enhance infotainment system with Google services


Along with the launch of a new Vovlo Cars joint venture with Google to embed services into the Swedish automaker's infotainment system, recent technology development in the industry includes new augmented reality tech from Mercedes Benz USA and Kia Motors America, as well.

Volvo Cars announced Monday that customers can now access Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services through its newly enhanced  Sensus infotainment system.

“Bringing Google services into Volvo cars will accelerate innovation in connectivity and boost our development in applications and connected services,” Henrik Green, senior vice president of research and development at Volvo Cars said in a news release. “Soon, Volvo drivers will have direct access to thousands of in-car apps that make daily life easier and the connected in-car experience more enjoyable.”

In addition to thousands of additional apps available through the Google Play Store, apps and services developed by Google and Volvo Cars have also been embedded.

This new venture builds on the strategic relationship between Volvo Cars and Google. Last year, Volvo Cars announced that the new generation of its infotainment system will be based on Google’s Android platform.

“The Google partnership is an important strategic alliance for Volvo Cars,”  Green explained. “The Android platform, Google services and Google’s working relationship with app developers in-house and worldwide will help us further improve the Volvo car experience.”

In other tech news, a new service from Mercedes employs augmented reality technology to provide customers a new way to explore vehicle features.

Mercedes-Benz USA recently announced that 2018 E-Class and 2018 S-Class drivers can now obtain computer-generated vehicle information in real-time by scanning the controls and displays inside their cars.

Customers can get an answer to questions about operating their vehicle in real time without having an owner's manual by using their smartphone camera instead.

The system is designed to explain unknown functions to the customer via text descriptions, photo and video content. There’s also an option for customers to request a direct link to sections of the digital owner's manual.

Meanwhile, last week the Kia brand also announced a new augmented technology venture with Facebook to enhance its digital assistant for Facebook Messenger.

The Korean automaker introduced its newly enhanced digital assistant at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference this year.

Kia’s Facebook page and website can now provide a more immersive experience in conjunction with Kia's second-generation digital assistant, according to the automaker.

Kia adds augmented reality to Facebook tool

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kia Motors America has added augmented reality technology to its digital assistant for Facebook Messenger.

The automaker introduced its newly enhanced digital assistant at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference earlier this week.

With the addition of new AR technology, Kia’s Facebook page and website can now provide a more immersive experience in conjunction with Kia's second-generation digital assistant, according to the automaker.

Kia is the only automaker selected by Facebook to be a part of the initial launch of AR for its Messenger platform. The company said this news follows the long-term success of its Kia Bot for Messenger initiatives, which began two years ago with the launch of "Niro Bot" for the Niro hybrid crossover model.

“We’re thrilled that Kia Motors is showcasing the 2018 Kia Stinger using our new AR effects for Messenger,” Facebook Messenger product manager Heath Black said in a news release. “Integrating AR camera effects into their messaging experience will allow their customers to get up close and personal with the Stinger and visualize the car in a new and engaging way.”

Kia shoppers can now use the Messenger platform to virtually view and capture a three-dimensional image of the 2018 Stinger GT in their driveway, garage or other location.

In addition to being able to find dealers nearby via a mobile-native conversation on Messenger, shoppers can also share any AR images in both group or one-on-one conversations within Messenger.

“The Stinger is like nothing anyone has ever seen from Kia. Therefore, it inspires us to find new and innovative ways to bring this incredible sports sedan to the public and show them everything the car and the Kia brand are capable of achieving,” said Kimberley Gardiner, director, marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “The addition of augmented reality into the Kia Bot for Facebook Messenger allows us to provide today's car buyers with an extended interaction on the social platforms they use most.”

The following is a list of the six key tasks “Kian” can help shoppers with:

  • Research pricing
  • Estimate payments
  • Explore special offers
  • View photos and videos
  • Compare the competition
  • Search vehicle inventory

Since its November launch, "Kian" has featured the full Kia model line-up and logged over one million messages, according to the automaker.

Black Book data to fuel Vin-Up Solution used within dealer service drive


Dealership service drives perhaps might become even busier — in a good way — stemming from another development involving Black Book.

According to an announcement distributed on Wednesday, Black Book has partnered with Mobility Sales Solutions and its new Vin-Up solution for dealers and their service customers. Under the agreement, dealers are immediately alerted to each vehicle’s latest Black Book value when vehicles come in for service, enabling better resale opportunities with their service customers.

Service valets at dealerships are equipped with Vin-UP portable scanners and printers, handing the vehicle owner a Vin-UP ticket as they exit their vehicle. The ticket displays the latest Black Book value of their vehicle, and dealers have the option of offering incentives to that customer to take a few minutes to discuss the sale of that car.

“This program puts the customer first,” said Bruno Lucarelli, president of U.S. Vin-UP distributor Mobility Sales Solutions. “We encourage auto dealers to avoid aggressive sales tactics aimed at waiting service customers. Vin-UP dealers recognize that informing a customer of their Black Book vehicle value and giving them the option of discussing a sale or trade-in on their own terms is more indicative of a positive retail experience and will address brand retention.

“A dealer that performs 50 customer repair orders per day should transact a few dozen extra vehicles per month on the Vin-UP Program,” Lucarelli continued.

Black Book executive vice president of revenue Jared Kalfus also elaborated about what the partnership means.

“A turnkey automotive service customer vehicle buyback program that combines technology such as Vin-Up, and the most accurate vehicle values from Black Book will foster a more productive dialogue for dealers and their returning customers,” Kalfus said.

“Customers returning for service aren’t typically in the shopping mindset, so the ability to create a dialogue with an accurate value of their vehicle creates a less adversarial environment to begin a discussion, creating a win-win scenario for both parties and fostering an environment of trust,” he went on to say.

Carvana shares Q1 estimates, partners with SpringboardAuto

IRVINE, Calif., and PHOENIX - 

As the online used-vehicle retailer shared some preliminary estimates of its first-quarter performance, Carvana announced another partnership on Tuesday; this time with SpringboardAuto.

Carvana and SpringboardAuto have teamed up to offer SpringboardAuto customers a seamless, end-to-end vehicle finance, purchase and delivery experience for Carvana’s national vehicle inventory of more than 11,000 units.

Officials indicated the partnership means that SpringboardAuto customers can now easily apply their online finance approval to Carvana vehicles, so they can buy from home and have their vehicle delivered as soon as the next day.

“We are pleased with the Carvana partnership, which puts our customers not only in control of their auto financing, but also of the purchase process,” said Jim Landy, chief executive officer and founder of SpringboardAuto.

“The combination of Carvana’s easy-to-use car buying platform and certified inventory and our auto finance technology solution means that SpringboardAuto customers can not only finance a car in the way they choose, at the speed they want, but they can also complete the purchase the way they want,” Landy continued.

“From selecting the car to completing their financing to delivery of the car, everything can be done online from the customers’ home, office or wherever they choose,” he added.

Landy is part of the contingent of experts set to be a part of new event hosted by Cherokee Media Group: the Automotive Intelligence Summit, which will be held on July 24-26 in Raleigh, N.C. He also sat down with us at AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference for an epsisode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast, which can be found below. 

As an auto fintech innovator benefiting consumers with a mobile-friendly, auto finance solution that simplifies secure online transactions, SpringboardAuto aligns with Carvana’s mission to change the way people buy cars.

“Carvana is the new way to buy a car, putting consumers back in control of the purchase process,” said Christina Keiser, Carvana’s senior director of strategic partnerships. “SpringboardAuto shares that goal, and we look forward to working together to create exceptional customer experiences.”

Customers are responding enthusiastically, as evidenced by a recent Google review from Melissa: “This was the easiest, simplest process in purchasing a vehicle known to man. SpringboardAuto’s easy to use software gives the buyer the ability to privately set the rate, term and down payment by letting you punch in different vehicles at various price-points … I could just look at cars online, punch in the specs and have the time to think out the purchase decision without being pressured. The team I worked with were helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. I can’t say enough about how excellent this company has been across the board and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.”

Landy went on to say, “Our mission is to make auto financing and purchasing faster, easier, and more pleasant for consumers and, working with Carvana, we are able to do just that.”

Carvana shares preliminary Q1 estimates

In other company news, Carvana revealed certain preliminary estimates of its operating results for the three months that ended March 31. A few of the metrics shared by the company included:

— Carvana expects retail vehicles sold to be approximately 18,450 units, as compared to 8,334 retail units sold in Q1 2017.

— Carvana expects gross profit to be approximately $34 million, as compared to gross profit of $9.7 million in Q1 2017.

— Carvana expects total gross profit per unit to be approximately $1,850, as compared to total gross profit per unit of $1,169 in Q1 2017.

— Carvana expects selling, general and administrative expenses to be approximately $83 million, including $4.6 million of depreciation and amortization expense, as compared to selling, general and administrative expenses of $45.9 million, including $2.1 million of depreciation and amortization expense, in Q1 2017.

— Carvana expects net loss to be approximately $53 million and net loss margin to be 14.7 percent as compared to net loss of $38.4 million and net loss margin of 24.2 percent in Q1 2017.

The company said the increase in net loss is primarily due to an increase in selling, general and administrative expenses partially offset by an increase in gross profit.

CDK purchases Progressus Media to grow advertising business


CDK Global has acquired Progressus Media to grow the technology and capabilities of its CDK Advertising business.

The company recently announced that the transaction closed for an undisclosed amount earlier this month, and it has also appointed Jen Cole to head CDK Advertising as vice president and general manager.

“We are excited to bring the Progressus Media team into the CDK family,” Cole said in a news release. “Our data-driven solutions, which help to put the right targeted messages in front of consumers at the right time in their shopping journey, combined with Progressus’ advanced technical capabilities, mobile conversion focus and subject-matter expertise, uniquely position us to provide competitive solutions in this rapidly changing market.”

CDK said the addition of team members, technology and products from Progressus can help advance CDK’s growth in social media channels.

Throughout the next several weeks, the Progressus Media team will work on fully integrating into the CDK Advertising business, according to CDK.

The Progressus Media team will remain based at their current office located in downtown Chicago.

Marketing activation platform joins Partner Program

Meanwhile, in other recent CDK news, 1-2-1 Mobile announced Monday that it is the latest company to join the CDK Global Partner Program.

“We are thrilled to join the CDK Global Partner Program,” 1-2-1 Mobile chief executive officer Alon Omer said in a news release announcing the new partnership. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to bring the power of our innovative marketing activation platform to thousands of automotive dealerships nationwide.

“1-2-1 Mobile has already partnered with top-tier automotive groups to transform their marketing campaigns into interactive, mobile-specific engagement tools that provide unprecedented marketing intelligence and ROI,” Omer continued.

1-2-1 Mobile uses engaged customer's mobile phone number to track their journey with an image-based mobile coupon, as well as provide dealers with marketing intelligence per customer.

Marketing intelligence that can be delivered by 1-2-1 Mobile includes information such as the marketing channel, specific promotion and customer's mobile phone number, as well as the location the coupon was redeemed.

Black Book partnership provides AuctionACCESS dealers discounted Black Book Digital subscriptions


Dealers using AuctionACCESS’s newly redesigned mobile application are now eligible for discounted Black Book Digital subscriptions.

Black Book announced that it has partnered with AuctionACCESS to provide its dealers with a promotional code that can be used when signing up for new subscriptions to Black Book Digital.

Via Black Book Digital subscriptions, dealers have access to the new inventory discovery solution Black Book Cherry, as well as Black Book History Adjusted Valuations and other industry valuations.

“Today’s auction industry continues to thrive at physical locations, but has grown exponentially online enabling dealers and remarketers to buy and sell inventory all over the world,” Black Book executive vice president, revenue Jared Kalfus said in a news release. “We are thrilled to be in partnership with AuctionACCESS, and we believe their members will benefit by having access to the industry’s most accurate vehicle values, with the power to precisely value each individual vehicle based on analytic-driven data from Black Book.”

Dealers can obtain the Black Book Digital subscription promotional code via the free AuctionACCESS app built and redesigned to help dealer members easily manage their AuctionACCESS credentials from almost anywhere.

“We are excited to partner with Black Book through our new AuctionACCESS Mobile app.” said Charlie Adams, AuctionACCESS VP of business development. “In addition to being an efficient tool for managing their credentials, AuctionACCESS Mobile now provides dealers with a great offer from one of our industry’s leading valuation tools.”

AuctionACCESS has a roster of more than 320 subscribing auctions.

CDK Global Partner Program adds Hearst Autos


For the second time this month, Hearst Autos has made a significant move associated with Car and Driver in an effort to boost dealership sales activities.

On Tuesday, Hearst Autos announced today that it has joined the CDK Global Partner Program, one of the largest, third-party partner programs in the automotive industry. The partnership is designed to enable Hearst Autos’ Car and Driver shopping tools to be seamlessly implemented across the dealer’s website.

As a result of this partnership, officials explained the Car and Driver shopping tools will have improved placements on dealer’s sites. Hearst insisted that dealers can expect increased usage of the tools and faster set up times.

The company added the partnership also can allow dealers to access and consume all of their third-party data in one place.

“This partnership underscores Hearst Autos’ goal of providing CDK dealer customers with best-in-class shopping tools and data-based solutions needed to help them grow their business,” said James Tom, senior vice president sales at Hearst Autos.  

Tuesday’s announcement arrived a little more than a week after Car and Driver added a Trade-In Value tool and a Credit Score tool to make the buying process easier for both dealers and consumers.

The CDK Partner Program now numbers more than 360 partner companies and 475 unique applications auto dealers can use to run their businesses. As part of the CDK ecosystem, the CDK Partner Program provides data and workflow integration to a wide range of third parties, OEMs and dealers.

“Hearst Autos adds to our growing number of offerings in the digital marketing category, and we are pleased to connect dealers to its solutions through our website integration solution,” said Howard Gardner, vice president and general manager of CDK Data Services. 

For a full list of partners and applications available through the program, visit