Partnerships and Integration

ActivEngage integrates live chat with LotLinx's mobile-optimized VDPs

ORLANDO, Fla. - 

Moblie car buyers can now access ActivEngage's ActivOne live chat solution via LotLinxAMP vehicle display pages.

ActivEngage is the latest certified chat partner to join the LotLinx Mobile-Optimized AMP Program, the company announced Monday.

This news follows ActivEngage's December integration with 700Credit to offer users the ability to pull credit inside chat conversations.

"We're excited to offer dealers an integration that connects them with today's mobile-first shoppers in real time," ActivEngage vice president of business development Eric Schlesinger said in a news release. "Twenty percent of ActivEngage leads include a sales appointment. By combining our industry-leading chat solution with LotLinx's mobile-optimized VDPs, we can deliver more ready-to-buy car buyers to the showroom."

In addition to the integration, ActivEngage and LotLinx also have plans to release a joint car buyer conversion report about the impact of online chat.

The joint report will discuss the importance of online chat conversions and its influence on in-store sales, according to ActivEngage.

"Our technology always focuses on dealers' needs, added Keith Schuyler, LotLinx vice president of client services. "Our certified partnership with ActivEngage is a powerful way for dealers to drive high digital ROI."

NIADA finalizes partnerships with AFC, TradeRev

ARLINGTON, Texas - 

The relationship connecting the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and KAR Auction Services is now even stronger.

On Wednesday, NIADA named Automotive Finance Corp. and TradeRev as Diamond-level National Corporate Partners — the association’s highest level of corporate affiliation.

AFC provides independent vehicle dealers a portfolio of trusted, flexible inventory financing and business solutions from more than 130 branch locations across the U.S. and Canada.

TradeRev is one of North America’s most advanced and longest-running digital mobile-app live auction platform for dealer-to-dealer transactions.

“TradeRev and AFC provide premier services that are directly aligned with the success of our independent dealer members and the future of our industry,” NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said.

 “These two businesses have a proven track record of delivering innovative products and services to help dealers quickly and conveniently source and finance inventory. And with the support of KAR Auction Services, we know they are here for our members — and here to stay,” Jordan continued.

Over the past year, NIADA highlighted TradeRev and AFC have collaborated to bring independent dealers first-of-their-kind promotions such as no floorplan fees and no-interest financing for 45 days for vehicles bought on TradeRev.

With the release of TradeRev 4.0, TradeRev became the first and only digital auction platform to introduce real-time AFC credit line availability displayed in-app, and fully integrated one-click AFC financing at checkout.

The partnership follows TradeRev’s recent unveiling of H, its artificial intelligence capabilities that combine the power of KAR’s data and TradeRev’s machine learning and predictive analytics to deliver clear, actionable information to dealers.

“NIADA dealers are smart, tech savvy and always looking for next-gen technology solutions to help their businesses grow and succeed,” KAR chairman and chief executive officer Jim Hallett said. “We are proud to partner with NIADA and to continue serving its strong membership.

“With a coast-to-coast presence and strong pipeline of innovation, TradeRev and AFC will help keep dealers moving and their inventory moving even faster,” Hallett continued. “Whether you’re an NIADA member in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Tampa or Dallas — you can count on TradeRev and AFC to expand your marketplace and extend your floorplan buying power.”

 AFC serves the NIADA community in the retail and wholesale automotive space, as well as serving RV, power sports and commercial truck dealers, salvage buyers and daily rental operators, offering floor planning to independent vehicle dealers.

AFC provides liquidity, bandwidth, industry expertise and credibility and is accepted by more than 1,000 inventory sources.

TradeRev is a mobile app offering NIADA members fast, convenient access to high-quality trade-in and commercial consignment inventory before it reaches wholesale physical auctions. The TradeRev mobile app mimics the physical auction setting, enabling dealers to launch and participate in live, one-hour auctions directly from their smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Winning TradeRev bidders can complete the entire transaction within the app, including optional inspection, title and arbitration services, and AFC financing and transportation through CarsArrive Network, another KAR business unit.

Manheim commits $50K to TechForce Foundation to combat growing shortage of auto technicians

ATLANTA and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - 

Manheim has a made a $50,000 annual commitment to the TechForce Foundation in support of its FutureTech Success campaign that aims to educate middle school and high school students about the benefits of a career as an auto technician, as well as challenge common misconceptions.

In addition to the funding, Manheim’s vice president of reconditioning Angie Babin, will also serve on the TechForce Foundation board, the company announced Tuesday.

The TechForce Foundation's FutureTech Success campaign is designed to combat the growing shortage of qualified auto technicians by informing middle school and high school students about current career paths, earning potential and new technologies being used.

“Sadly, auto shop classes are disappearing, and parents and students are not receiving information about the viability of technical work-related jobs,” Babin said in a news release announcing Manheim's partnership with TechForce. “The pipeline for auto technicians needs to be rebuilt, and by partnering with TechForce, we are proactively providing potential technicians with information and inspiration to pursue a lucrative and rewarding career.”

Manheim said that it will team up with TechForce to provide middle school and high school students both mentorships and apprentice programs with professional technicians who can share insight about their careers.

“Many parents today believe that the auto technicians job is a dead-end job requiring very little skill, and that’s just not the case.” explained Jennifer Maher, chief executive officer and executive director of the TechForce Foundation. “Today’s auto technicians use technology for their jobs and can have bright careers that progress from auto shops through management and even higher throughout the automotive industry.

“We’re excited to work together with Manheim to help fill the gap in the technician pipeline,”  Maher continued.

AutoGravity broadens vehicle financing options to international students through a new partnership with Westbon

IRVINE, Calif. - 

AutoGravity is looking to bring auto finance customers to captives and commercial banks where it might be appropriate for the providers to learn greetings such as bon jour, guten tag or kon'nichiwa.

On Tuesday, AutoGravity announced a partnership with Westbon, one of the first lending platform for international students in the U.S. Through this unique partnership, Westbon financing options are now accessible to international students who use AutoGravity to finance their vehicle in the United States.

“Car buyers are looking for a faster and simpler car financing process,” said Serge Vartanov, AutoGravity co-founder and chief evangelist officer. “As the first online platform to cater exclusively to the financing needs of international students, Westbon will benefit from AutoGravity’s appeal to digital-savvy customers seeking an exceptional car-buying experience.”

With an innovative underwriting approach that takes an applicant’s information in both his/her home country and the U.S. into consideration, Westbon is able to provide international students with access to convenient and affordable financing options.

“Westbon is unique in the vehicle lending eco-system,” said Yifeng Ouyang, co-founder and chief operating officer of Westbon. “We make the loan application process easier for international students with higher levels of approval and better interest rates. Working with AutoGravity will help us reach a greater number of international students across the U.S.”

Based in Irvine, Calif., AutoGravity uses proprietary technology to connect vehicle shoppers, finance companies and dealers through a modern digital marketplace. AutoGravity collaborates with leading banks and captive lenders like Westbon, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Audi Financial Services, Volkswagen Credit and more to empower its users with convenience, transparency and choice, while sending ready-to-buy customers to the dealership.

To date, more than 1.5 million consumers have downloaded the AutoGravity app, collectively requesting more than $2 billion in financing. The rapidly-growing platform can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. AutoGravity is also available as a mobile-responsive web platform.

ELEAD1ONE to integrate its DealBuilder solutions with Darwin Automotive F&I software

ISELIN, N.J. - 

Darwin Automotive announced Monday that ELEAD1ONE will integrate Darwin's F&I software with both its DealBuilder Showroom and DealBuilder Online solutions.

Salespeople can use ELEAD1ONE's DealBuilder Showroom to manage the test drive process and map routes. Along with providing customers with turn-by-turn directions, the solution can also track distances, route information and average speed for dealerships.

Meanwhile, the DealBuilder solution is designed to calculate vehicle payments for consumers that incorporate state and local taxes, as well as the consumer’s credit score.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with our partners at ELEAD1ONE on these exciting new technology platforms,” Darwin Automotive chief executive officer Phil Battista said in a news release. “As digital retailing solutions start to mature and become a mainstay of the marketplace, it’s becoming essential for dealerships to choose the right partner that helps them provide the best experience while at the same time maximizing the overall deal profitability.

"We’ve seen many digital retailing providers opt for a static F&I product presentation that often time presents F&I products that aren’t suited for the chosen vehicle. This is a huge miss in our opinion,” Battista continued.

Darwin Automotive said it has over 140 F&I product providers integrated into its application that will be seamlessly integrated into ELEAD1ONE's two DealBuilder applications, as well.

Nearly 2,500 dealerships have employed its F&I software in the past two years, according to the company.

“We wanted to ensure that both our showroom and online car-buying application had the most advanced F&I product presentation on the market,” said Bill Wittenmyer, partner at ELEAD1ONE. “With F&I representing such a large portion of the average dealers’ profit, we had to pay careful consideration to this portion of the transaction.”

SiriusXM partners with Enterprise Car Sales to provide customers a 3-month listening package

NEW YORK - 

SiriusXM and Enterprise Car Sales announced Monday the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand is the latest to join the SiriusXM Pre-Owned Program made up of nearly 30,000 dealers.

Enterprise Car Sales pre-owned customers who purchase vehicles factory-equipped with SiriusXM can now receive three-month subscriptions to the SiriusXM All Access audio package that includes any available SiriusXM Infotainment services.

Customers with vehicles equipped with SiriusXM Infotainment services can get three months of access to traffic, weather and fuel price information delivered directly to the vehicle’s navigation display.

“Enterprise serves a tremendous number of auto buyers across the country, and we are very pleased to have their many dealerships now participating in the SiriusXM Pre-Owned Program,” SiriusXM automotive remarketing vice president Gail Berger said in a news release. “Enterprise’s very large inventory of vehicles enables them to offer many of their customers the valued benefit of SiriusXM All Access, which gives listeners access to our world-class programming lineup not only through the dashboard, but anywhere via the SiriusXM app.

“It also allows SiriusXM to reach many new subscribers and empower them to experience the best audio entertainment available,” Berger continued.

In addition to a variety of commercial-free music, live college sports and talk programming, the All Access audio package includes NASCAR races, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL games and several exclusive online-only channels.

With the All Access subscription, customers can access SiriusXM’s wide variety of programming via the SiriusXM application and many connected devices.

“SiriusXM is a desirable feature for many drivers and their passengers, and we’re excited to offer our customers a 90-day subscription with their purchase of any SiriusXM-equipped vehicle,” said Mike Bystrom, corporate vice president of Enterprise Car Sales. “Enterprise Car Sales provides the same renowned, high level of service that is a hallmark of the Enterprise brand, and this offering is a complement to the service we provide our customers.”

Enterprise Car Sales currently operates more than 130 auto dealerships.

Alliance Auto Auctions partners with Floorplan Xpress

MOORE, Okla. - 

According to a news release issued on Monday, Floorplan Xpress, a nationwide auto dealer floorplan company serving 26 states across the country, is now servicing the accounts for Alliance Auto Auction’s Dealers Credit Express, a Texas-based floorplan provider.

Officials highlighted this development should greatly enhance the footprint of both companies. Floorplan Xpress has since provided inventory financing solutions for dealers since 1974. It has 24 branch offices throughout the United States, with its headquarters located in Moore, Okla.

Alliance Auto Auctions started Dealers Credit Express in 2015 to provide its dealer base with a better flooring experience.  The Alliance Auto Auction chain of auto auctions based in central and east Texas provides floor plan services at 23 auctions, in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

“Dealers will see improvements in our offerings and customer service in the months ahead as the benefits of the partnership are realized,” said Tim Adams, chief executive officer of Alliance Auto Auctions.

“I believe what makes Alliance stand out in today’s marketplace is our ability to understand the unique needs of our dealers. This is a result of working closely with them to build mutually beneficial relationships and striving to help one another achieve our goals.” Adams continued.

The mottos of the two firms are similar. The Floorplan Xpress motto is “Inventory Financing made Simple.” while Dealers Credit Express’ motto is “Simple, Fast and Convenient.”

Today, Floorplan Xpress serves thousands of independent auto retailers from branch offices in 26 states.

Adams went on to say, “The partnership comes at a great time as it coincides with growth and expansion of the auction chain, and a very strong market for independent auto retailers.”

More information is available at www.fpxus.com as well as allianceautoauction.com.

NIADA roundup: New relationships with DriveItAway, Solera and PGW Auto Glass

ARLINGTON, Texas - 

With conference season in full swing, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association continued preparations for its big event this summer by aligning with a trio of service providers aimed at helping operators who do not have a direct connection to an automaker.

DriveItAway, the first company dedicated to equipping dealers with the tools to participate in the explosive growth of mobility as a service and shared mobility services, has joined with the association as NIADA’s latest National Member Benefit partner.

Solera Holdings, a provider of digital technologies that connect and secure cars, homes and identities, has teamed with the NIADA as a Bronze-level National Corporate Partner.

And PGW Auto Glass, one of North America’s largest auto glass distributors, has joined with the NIADA as a new National Member Benefit partner.

While Las Vegas hosted National Automobile Dealer Association festivities this past weekend, all of these moves were made by NIADA as the association continues to prepare for the 2018 NIADA/NABD Convention and Expo at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., June 18-21. For more information about the 2018 NIADA Convention and Expo or to register, visit www.niadaconvention.com or www.bhphinfo.com.

The event is all about helping dealers advance their businesses, like the relationship with DriveItAway.

Identifying a need for automotive retailers to quickly ramp up their experience and business revenues in the rapidly emerging world of car sharing and subscription services, DriveItAway will offer its turnkey platform to NIADA members in an industry partnership.

DriveItAway said it will provide NIADA members with all the tools to offer a subscription model Car Sharing platform, including self-service software, all insurance coverages and training to allow dealers to quickly and profitably begin to add a cents-per-mile model to the traditional one car sale/one profit scenario.

Every association member using DriveItAway’s turnkey program also can immediately offer the Lyft Your Down Payment program, which provides new Lyft drivers with immediate temporary vehicles to drive at a daily or weekly rate so they can raise money for a down payment to buy the vehicle of their choice — offered by the participating dealership.

“Ride sharing companies such as Lyft are always recruiting, in volume, for new drivers, and many potential new drivers lack vehicles or appropriate vehicles to drive,” DriveItAway founder and chief executive officer John Possumato said. “While there are other temporary rental vehicles available, we have found many current and prospective Ride Share drivers want to own the vehicle they drive and are looking for a path-to-ownership opportunity.

“Conversely, dealers are always looking for new buyer prospects, and many could close more deals if prospects had just a little more cash down with a quick and direct method to raise that money,” Possumato continued.

Possumato insisted DriveItAway’s program “beautifully merges those two needs” by enabling dealers to provide temporary vehicles to new Lyft drivers, who can then come back to the dealership with the cash to buy a vehicle.

“We even throw in a little incentive cash to the drivers to add to their down payment when they achieve a certain number of rides — if they buy a vehicle from that dealership,” Possumato said.

“We are thrilled to kick off this first of its kind program with NIADA, a clear win for dealers by expanding the range of qualified buyers and a testament that NIADA is an organization that best prepares its members for doing business today — and tomorrow,” he went on to say.

NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said working with DriveItAway gives NIADA members a new turnkey profit center that also leads to more vehicle sales and expands members’ role in the new Shared Mobility environment.

“This is a win-win-win for our members, their customers and ride sharing companies such as Lyft,” he said. “Plus, entering in the mobility as a service business through DriveItAway gives industry-leading dealerships valuable and profitable experience in that expanding business sector of transportation and comprehensive preparation to enable our members to embrace many future customer-need scenarios.”

Solera joins with NIADA as National Corporate Partner

Solera Holdings, a provider of digital technologies that connect and secure cars, homes and identities, has teamed with NIADA as a Bronze-level National Corporate Partner.

Solera’s offerings manage risk and assets for the digital world of today, creating a digital marketplace that empowers customers to manage the entire life of the vehicle from a single platform.

Solera processes more than 300 million digital transactions annually for some 235,000 partners and customers in nearly 90 countries.

Solera companies include Identifix, which serves more than 250,000 automotive technicians and shop owners in the U.S., Canada and Latin America through its online Direct-Hit system, Virtual Technician Service, Direct Market and Direct-Shop shop management system; and AutoPoint, which can combine marketing strategies, service execution and titling tools to create a single, comprehensive technology platform aimed at transforming the customer experience from end to end.

“Solera is a leader in the insurance claims management, digital marketing, electronic title/registration and vehicle service repair data industries,” Lilja said. “It delivers very innovative, high quality and impactful solutions to assist our member dealers in selling and servicing more vehicles profitably.”

For more information, visit www.autopoint.com and www.identifix.com, and for more on Solera, visit www.solera.com.

PGW Auto Glass on board as NIADA National Member Benefit Partner

PGW Auto Glass, one of North America’s largest auto glass distributors, has joined with NIADA as a new National Member Benefit partner.

PGW Auto Glass offers a wide selection of glass repair and replacement products at more than 120 locations, including glass, repair, sundries and replacement support products, as well as distribution service for the automotive industry.

NIADA members will be offered special pricing on auto glass and select supplies through the partnership and will have access to PGW Auto Glass’ e-ordering system and Sundries Help Desk through its call center.

PGW Auto Glass said it also plans to offer exclusive discounts to NIADA members on chip repair kits.

“We are extremely pleased to have the number one glass distributor in the U.S., PGW Auto Glass, come on board as an endorsed NIADA National Member Benefit partner,” Lilja said.

 “With more than 8,000 customers, PGW is a top supplier to all of North America’s national and independent glass installers,” Lilja continued. “This is an immense opportunity for our members to enjoy 100 percent of the profit from glass replacement work versus outsourcing, while enjoying substantial cost benefits in the process.”

Cars.com offers new social targeting tool, integrates AI chat solution for customers

CHICAGO - 

As dealers, vendors and more gathered for NADA 2018 in Las Vegas, Cars.com launched its new social targeting product, as well as announced it will make available to its customers Conversations — an AI chat solution.

Conversations is the first integrated Dealer Inspire product announcement since Cars.com purchased Dealer Inspire and Launch Digital Marketing for $165 million in February. 

Cars Social, designed to attract more leads through Facebook and Instagram, leverages Cars.com audience data and targets consumers on social media who previously researched inventory or expressed interest in similar vehicles in the market, the company explained.

Targeted social media users will see a social ad with inventory imagery from local retailers that fits their search and shopping preferences. Then those ads will redirect shoppers to their corresponding VDP pages on Cars.com. Further, a team of social media account managers will be available to dealers to “optimize campaigns and set up data feeds.”

“We know millions of people across the country, including Cars.com shoppers, spend a significant amount of time on social platforms, and a smart use of social media advertising moves shoppers through the sales funnel,” said Alex Vetter, president and chief executive officer at Cars.com. “We want to help dealers extend their reach and connect with these buyers wherever they shop.”

Further, Dealer Inspire product Conversations is described as a managed chat solution built with artificial intelligence and “synced with a dealership’s inventory”.

The Conversations platform was developed by Dealer Inspire, and will now be integrated with Cars.com through a Conversations Starter package.

All new chats will be answered by an AI chatbot named “Ana,” which can greet customers, answer frequently asked questions and schedule appointments. If she doesn’t know how to answer a question, she will transfer the customer to the dealerhship’s team or Dealer Inspire’s Managed Chat Call Center to expand on the response and capture the customer’s information for the dealer.

“AI is the next frontier in automotive,” said Vetter. “Cars.com intends to lead the industry by applying AI to create a smarter car shopping and selling experience for consumers and dealers. Conversations is the first AI chatbot that integrates seamlessly into a third-party site and a dealer website so that dealers can connect with consumers whenever and wherever they are shopping.”

Liquid Motors, MyDealerOnline partner to bring dealers wider online audiences

DALLAS - 

Liquid Motors announced Wednesday a new partnership with MyDealerOnline to allow customers using Liquid Motors’ auto remarketing solutions to include their vehicles on dealer’s websites that leverage MyDealerOnline’s product.

The companies completed integration in January.

When a consumer contacts the dealer to buy a vehicle listed on a MyDealerOnline powered site, the dealer is now provided with a direct link to buy the vehicle from online wholesale marketplaces.

“Leveraging consumer demand to get dealers to buy a certain product is a concept that has proven to work, such as is the case with CARFAX vehicle history reports,” Liquid Motors chief executive officer Michael Daseke said in a news release. “In our extensive experience in retail and wholesale remarketing of vehicles on the Internet, garnering more exposure, more potential buyers viewing the vehicle on more websites results in selling the vehicles faster and for more money.”

Liquid Motors said the partnership will benefit MyDealerOnline subscribing dealers by increasing available vehicles’ inventory for display on their websites.

In addition to a wider audience, the MyDealerOnline partnership provides dealers with a greater inventory selection without additional floor plan costs, Liquid Motors said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Liquid Motors, a well-known player in the auto remarketing space, and offer MyDealerOnline subscribing dealers an even greater wholesale inventory selection to be included on their own websites,” added company chief executive officer Yury Kaganov. “Dealers filter available inventory to their liking by variety of criteria, including the distance from their dealerships. Larger selection Liquid Motors provides will improve the quantity of the wholesale vehicles available to dealers in each region of the country. Together we can achieve the ultimate goal of providing the best available tools to sellers, facilitators and dealers in the remarketing spectrum,” continued Kaganov.

Last year, Liquid Motors’ customers listed over 600,000 vehicles, according to the company. 

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