20 Locations Now Have Manheim’s Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite


Along with giving an update on how many dealers are using its mobile apps, Manheim highlighted the benefits from the investment in its new Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite, which is aimed at helping customers who have struggled to find vehicle condition reports with consistent imaging quality.

Manheim introduced the Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite to customers in May, and now the capability is at 20 of Manheim’s North American locations as part of Manheim’s InSight Electronic Condition Report.

“We are pleased that the feedback has been very positive,” said Bonnie Hensler, vice president of product development for Manheim. “Through customer research, we found that getting condition reports with great vehicle images remained an ongoing point of frustration.

“So coming up with a solution to help our customers has been gratifying. Customers told us that having access to images that clearly and quickly assess what is wrong or special about a vehicle would give them greater confidence when buying and selling, and we have delivered,” Hensler continued.

The operating locations that have the new imaging product include:

—Manheim Atlanta
—Manheim Baltimore-Washington
—Manheim Denver
—Manheim Fredericksburg
—Manheim Houston
—Manheim Kansas City
—Manheim Milwaukee
—Manheim Minneapolis
—Manheim Nashville
—Manheim Nevada
—Manheim New Jersey
—Manheim Ohio
—Manheim Orlando
—Manheim Pennsylvania
—Manheim Phoenix
—Manheim Riverside
—Manheim San Diego
—Manheim San Francisco Bay
—Manheim Seattle
—Manheim Statesville.

The Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite can provide the highest resolution images available, delivering showroom quality that can help sell vehicles online quickly.

Officials highlighted the improved package, offered with Manheim InSight Condition Reports, can provide customers up to 18 vehicle images, “heat map” graphics that can help buyers quickly assess vehicle condition and a dedicated photo staff with the goal of ensuring consistent image quality and standards across all Manheim locations.

Manheim indicated dealer feedback has been extremely positive.

Reed Brklacich of BARCO Rent-A-Truck, based in Salt Lake City, consigns all his vehicles at 10 Manheim locations around North America.

“I sell all my trucks at Manheim,” Brklacich said. “I like the new enhancements, and how the pictures portray my vehicles.” Brklacich reports higher sales and steadier prices since adopting the Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite over the past several weeks.

From a buyers’ standpoint, Brett Broghammer of Integrity AutoSource of Vadnais, Minn., has been very pleased by the Enhanced Vehicle Imaging Suite.

“The new InSight ECR pictures Manheim is using for the Toyota lease return sales are a huge improvement,” Broghammer said. “They really help to make my buying decision on these cars quicker and easier.”

Michael Zins of Maplewood (Minn.) Toyota said the zoom tool has been helpful to review damage to a vehicle, while Nick Nyhus Family Sales of Perham, Minn., shared that the imaging product has helped him buy effectively and exclusively online and via Simulcast.

Dealers Step Up Usage Of Mobile Apps To Conduct Business

As consumers increasingly rely on mobile applications to transact business, so do nearly 50 percent of wholesale dealers, according to Manheim.

During the past year, Manheim’s dealer customers used their mobile devices not only to find and buy inventory, but also to track and monitor the entire post-purchase process. To date, dealers have listed more than 50,000 vehicles using the company’s mobile listing tool and received more than 100,000 vehicle notifications via their mobile devices.

“When we first launched our mobile application, adoption by dealers was slow,” said Rumon Lasker, Manheim’s director of product management. “What we are finding now is that nearly 50 percent of dealers are accessing our mobile applications at a much faster pace.  We believe this is due to the all-in-one mobile experience that only Manheim offers.”

Unlike other mobile applications, Manheim explained its all-in-one experience can gives dealers fast and easy access to find, buy, sell and manage all their vehicle transactions:

• Find vehicles using PowerSearch

• Buy vehicles using Simulcast

• Sell vehicles via the myMobileListing tool

• Manage the entire process using myPurchases

“I use the Manheim app daily, it is absolutely the best tool for my business,” said Brian Harmon, dealer principal at RV and Boat Liquidators.

“I continuously run my trades on the mobile app and search run lists all over the U.S. looking for specialty items on,” Harmon continued. “I’ve been in the wholesale, retail car and motorhome business for 27 years and it’s the best tool of my trade.”

In addition, using an iPad, iPhone or Android device, dealers can tap into the Manheim app to research MMR values and purchase vehicles that are listed on or sold through Simulcast.

After their purchase, they can use the app to finance vehicles and order transportation. Sellers can also list vehicles in the Manheim marketplace and disclose vehicle condition information using the Manheim app.

“Whether it’s creating a seller disclosure, listing a vehicle, conducting searches or managing auction check-out, dealers tell us that our digital tools are easy to use and save them time,” Lasker said.

LotLinx Taps Former Dealix Exec to Be VP of Product Management


LotLinx, developers of platform aimed at connecting more than 6.5 million consumers who are searching vehicle inventory online every month directly to the dealership websites where that inventory resides, appointed a new vice president of product management on Tuesday.

Taking on this role is former Dealix executive Dave Shefferman.

LotLinx highlighted that Shefferman has nearly two decades of experience in the high tech and automotive industries, including with Dealix, where he re-built from a small classified site to a leading industry portal for used-vehicle shopping.

In his new role, Shefferman will support LotLinx’s growth by leading product development and data strategy efforts for the LotLinx Deeplinking platform, the first ever VIN-specific inventory advertising technology that can directly links shoppers from search engines and automotive research sites to the vehicle display pages (VDPs) on dealerships’ websites.

LotLinx noted Shefferman has an impressive track record of designing and implementing proven technology enhancements. As director of product management for Dealix, he led the re-launch of and tripled used car lead volume and revenue in the first month alone.

Shefferman began his career in digital marketing as the marketing manager for E-LOAN, where he led the development of end-to-end reporting and analytics systems. He honed his online skills as product manager for, where he built the user-flow for the company’s create and buy service.

Most recently, Shefferman served as director of product management, data operations and development for, designing systems and patented processes to manage real estate listing data quality and integrity.

In addition, executive highlighted Shefferman is a prolific and successful entrepreneur. He founded, a nonprofit organization focused on getting people involved in community service, and co-founded ManageMyScore, an online service that helped people understand how their financial actions would impact their credit scores. Most recently, he founded, an online wine club focused on artisan, handcrafted wines.

“LotLinx is a proven technology platform that streamlines the car buying process and delivers higher conversion rates at a fraction of the cost of other marketing channels,” Shefferman said. “I think the product is phenomenal, and I’m excited to be working with a fast-growth company and a team of industry veterans who are committed to delivering the best online experience possible.”

LotLinx chief executive officer Dean Evans added, “Dave’s deep product expertise and strong entrepreneurial spirit are incredible assets for LotLinx.

“As we continue to experience strong growth, his skills will be instrumental in helping us continue to provide a positive and efficient online experience for dealerships and consumers,” Evans went on to say.

Dealerbaby Integrates Mobile App Functions into Auto/Mate DMS


Custom dealership mobile app platform provider Dealerbaby integrated with Auto/Mate’s dealership management system on Tuesday.

Officials highlighted that users of Auto/Mate’s Open/Mate third-party integration system can now experience the benefits of a native mobile app without the high costs associated with custom mobile app development.

Dealerbaby co-founder Padraic Doyle insisted dealerships can increase customer retention, profits and leads and become a leader of the mobile dealership community.

“Our partnership with Auto/Mate gives us the ability to create a powerful user experience by letting the customer interact with the dealership on the device they use the most — their smartphone,” Doyle said. “The key is the two-way communication with the DMS, which is made possible with Open/Mate.”

To help improve the mobile experience for dealerships and their customers, Dealerbaby integrated the following features in its platform with Auto/Mate’s DMS:

— Service appointment scheduling: Dealership apps on the Dealerbaby platform can display service schedules, available service appointments and offer users the ability to schedule various services all within the dealership’s mobile app.

— Inventory listings: The Dealerbaby mobile app platform can display inventory updates in real-time as the inventory is updated in Auto/Mate’s DMS.

Auto/Mate president and chief executive officer Mike Esposito emphasized the company’s DMS is a full-featured, user-friendly solution that is scalable for any size dealership or dealer group. Esposito pointed out the system comes with the best customer support in the industry and is available in both Web-based and in-house server solutions.

“More car shoppers are using smartphones and tablets to shop for cars, and mobile apps are easier to use than browsing a mobile website,” Esposito said. “DMS integration ensures that all inventory and service data is displayed to customers in real time, reflecting all updates in your dealer’s DMS.”

XRM & Quote Merge for Better Equity Mining


AutoLoop said this week that it has integrated its two equity mining tools, Quote and XRM. The latter — which AutoLoop acquired along with the CRM tool’s parent company (CAR Research) in June — is now useable with access to Quote from the program, according to Steve Anderson, the chief executive officer of AutoLoop.

“Dealerships who use XRM are now able to access equity customers from Quote within the XRM program,” Anderson said. “Since Quote now feeds data directly to XRM, dealers can manage sales quotes and benefit from equity mining without switching back and forth between the two programs. And because of this direct integration, dealerships can now build custom workflows to ensure proper process is followed by their sales team.”

Anderson believes AutoLoop is on the cutting edge by integrating the two technologies, giving dealers a tool that helps them save time.

“No other company has a product that integrates with XRM like our Quote product does,” Anderson said. “We are making dealers’ jobs easier by streamlining their software solutions. Being able to seamlessly access Quote data from within XRM is invaluable.”

For more information on Quote & XRM, visit their site here.

Flick Fusion Debuts Automotive Video Marketing Platform


Flick Fusion announced this week its video marketing platform for dealers, offering what it contends is the first of such platforms to automate the video production process, including inventory videos, video emails and other various dealer-related videos.

Brian Cox, the president and chief executive officer of Flick Fusion, says his company offers to dealers the digital platform for their inventory that they need to maximize sales.

“Many dealers want to incorporate video into their marketing plan, but don’t have the resources or expertise to create dynamic videos for all their marketing needs,” Cox said. “Our platform offers a simple, cost-effective method for creating a video marketing strategy proven to attract more web site visitors and convert them into leads.”

Flick Fusion utilizes the power of Google by avoiding Flash and publishing videos in “SEO-friendly” formats and uploads them to YouTube, increasing exposure to a wider market.

“Flash videos can’t be indexed by Google and therefore they don’t boost SEO rankings,” Cox said. “Additionally, many third-party sites don’t accept Flash so dealers can’t benefit from video syndication, which also boosts rankings.”

In addition to the video format, the program also utilizes VidMail, which allows dealer employees to customize videos for individual lead inquiries, which can be custom-made on request with video greetings, vehicle walkarounds and other related dealership videos.

For more information about Flick Fusion, visit their site here.

New Manheim eGate Pass Process Launched

GILBERT, Ariz. - 

Manheim and Ready Auto Transport announced recently their collaboration to launch a new electronic gate pass process at all Manheim locations nationwide.

The delivery time-improving eGate Passes are electronically delivered for all customer vehicles directly to members to streamline the auction pick-up process.

John Blobner, the vice president and general manager for Ready Auto Transport, believes the new process will enhance the experience between his company, its carriers and Manheim buyers.

“We are pleased to help our carriers alleviate some of the obstacles they may have at the auction such as arriving after hours when a gate pass is not available,” Blobner said. “When Manheim buyers choose Ready Auto Transport for transportation, we verify the vehicle is ready and issue the eGate Pass directly to the carrier, eliminating dry runs because they’ll know the vehicle is ready and can avoid the wait.”

Ready Auto Transport and Manheim piloted the process and successfully released more than 3,000 vehicles without any issues at locations at Manheim Ohio, Manheim Detroit, Manheim Pittsburgh and Manheim Statesville.

For more information about Ready Auto Transport and the eGate Pass, visit the site here.

Hallett Hints More KAR Acquisitions Could Be Ahead

CARMEL, Ind. - 

KAR Auction Services already shelled out $30 million to acquire a 50-percent stake in online vehicle remarketing system, TradeRev. And investment analysts wondered if KAR is ready to bring out the company checkbook or credit card again to buy the remainder of Toronto-based wholesale solution firm or another company outside of its current portfolio of ADESA, Insurance Auto Auctions and Automotive Finance Corp.

While also reminiscing about his franchised dealer days when discussing TradeRev, chief executive officer Jim Hallett mainly kept company strategy close to the vest when KAR conducted its quarterly conference call this past Wednesday.

“We do have other deals in the pipeline in our other businesses as well, but nothing that we're in a position to discuss today,” Hallett said during his opening comments of the call that later consisted of plenty of discussion about how TradeRev and ADESA can boost both service for dealers and profits for the company.

Later, Hallett touched on the acquisition issue again when questioned by the investment community, which cheered the company’s overall second quarter performance that included increases in revenue, adjusted EBIDTA, net income and adjusted net income.

“In terms of other acquisitions, I think we're always looking at different businesses, how they fit both from a strategic standpoint, as well as how they might fit from a technology standpoint, and then perhaps the geographic standpoint. We're evaluating these businesses … one at a time,” Hallett said. “We prioritize them. They don't always go down as we think they’re going to go down.

“But at the end of the day, there are a number of businesses that we continue to focus on that would tuck-in very nicely,” he went on to say.

Besides the solution’s wholesale market capabilities, KAR chief financial officer and executive vice president Eric Loughmiller pointed out valuable parts of the TradeRev acquisition deal are the possibility that KAR can acquire the remaining ownership portion as well as keeping the previous management team in place — similar to the strategy when KAR bought OPENLANE.

“We have some rights at the right time to perhaps increase our ownership. And we'll see how that plays out,” Loughmiller said. “And at any point in time, you can always buy the rest of it if they’re willing to sell it at the right price, right? But being part of this it's really important to us in keeping the management team in place, the founders and their technology skills and their knowledge of the market.”

Hallett elaborated about the value of TradeRev’s management, which includes president and founder Mark Endras.

These guys first got started in 2009, so this is technology that they've been working on and developing and have learned a lot of lessons as they’ve developed it,” Hallett said. “And it was really critical for us to keep them in the deal. Keep the founder in the deal, and he kept his entire management team in place. I think that's what they bring to the table,

“From the ADESA side, when you think about our locations and our people and our resources, we can really pour the gasoline on this thing and get it to the market and hurry,” he added.

ADESA already entered into a joint marketing agreement with TradeRev to assist in expanding its footprint in the dealer-to-dealer online space in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

The company highlighted ADESA will be the exclusive provider of certain products and services to TradeRev’s customers. Officials added that ADESA will also leverage its 65 auction locations across North America and the company’s strong online auction presence and dealer network to support TradeRev’s diverse dealer offerings.

“TradeRev is a company that we identified that was operating in Canada. We thought it was a unique business model, and saw that it was focused on what I would call an addressable market that we currently didn't feel that we were getting a slice of. It was just opportunistic that we got involved in conversations, and we ended up acquiring 50 percent of the business. It was really the strategic rationale of bringing this component of the business into the KAR family,” Hallett said.

“I believe that the combination of TradeRev and ADESA will create opportunities to expand our buyer base throughout the entire organization,” Hallett went on to say. “TradeRev creates private, customized network of buyers and sellers to move fresh trades. TradeRev is a solution that addresses the 20 million units to 22 million dealer-to-dealer transactions that don’t currently come to a physical auction. We estimate that as many as half of these vehicles are sold on a dealer-to-dealer basis, and what TradeRev will do is TradeRev will stand in the middle of these transactions much like we do in our online and physical auctions.”

Since Hallett is a former dealer, he also described how TradeRev is a solution geared to make things easier for busy managers. Dealers can get started by scanning the VIN and taking a few pictures with their mobile device. Then, the auction process is in motion.

“Dealers are going to have the ability to close more sales because they're going to have stronger appraisals on these cars. And they're also going to reduce the risk of loss at the time when comes to selling those trade-ins,” Hallett said.

“And I can tell you that, as a former franchise dealer, I would absolutely love to have a tool like this,” he continued. “When I think about my time and the efficiency that I spent calling wholesalers and trying to get bids and trying to get appraisals on cars, and then when I think about the lost opportunities, the number of deals that I wasn't able to close because I wasn't able to get what I would call an accurate appraisal on the car, certainly it prevented me from getting some deals done.

So, with TradeRev, I think this is a good example of the type of strategic growth that we are pursuing,” Hallett went on to say.

Subaru Debuts New Infotainment System

CYPRESS, Calif. - 

As the 2015 model-year Subaru Legacy and Outback models make it onto dealers’ lots, the units will contain even more infotainment options to market to shoppers.

Subaru of America announced the debut of its Subaru STARLINK infotainment system, utilizing Clarion’s Smart Access platform, and available in these two new models.

The new system focuses on cloud connectivity and enables users to connect to the cloud using the Smart Access platform.

The system is designed for both Apple iPhone iOS and Android smartphones.

"We have been working on perfecting our exclusive Smart Access connectivity platform relentlessly for several years in order to assure reliability, safety and distraction-free operation of the system while driving," said Paul Lachner, president of Clarion Corporation of America. "We are thrilled to customize and launch our connectivity platform with Subaru, one of our premier partners, and are excited to provide their customers the ability to connect to the cloud safely and securely using their smartphones and let them enjoy a customized and continually updated infotainment experience."

Users can use the vehicle’s standard Bluetooth or USB ports to connect their smartphones to the cars head unit display and then have the option to access apps and services through their devices.

Vehicle owners can also use iHeartRadio, a free app that is included in the system that offers millions of songs and radio stations. The platform also comes with news and weather information apps.

The system can also automatically push the user's calendar data directly to the vehicle's head unit display.  

The Subaru STARLINK app is now available as a free download from Google Play and iTunes app stores, and the technology will be offered on more Subaru vehicle models in the near future, the company said.

"By making STARLINK standard on the all-new 2015 Subaru Legacy and Subaru Outback models, we have given Subaru drivers a highly-accessible driving companion right in their dashboards," said Thomas Doll, president of Subaru of America Inc. "This gateway to the Internet will effortlessly and automatically push relevant data directly where it is needed most."

SideCars Releases SideKick Reinsurance Software

JOPLIN, Mo.  - 

Reinsurance provider SideCars announced this week the launch of SideKick, its new online reinsurance software platform for dealers. The software, which is cloud-based, allows dealers to monitor their reinsurance companies online by giving access to limited warranties, service contracts, GAP insurance, collateral protection and business risks including cession statements, financial statements, tax returns and more all through one convenient location.

Les Olson, the founder and owner of SideCars, believes SideKick’s launch marks a benchmark for his company.

“This is an exciting time for SideCars clients and agents, who will now be able to manage and monitor their reinsurance companies anytime and anywhere,” Olson said. “After spending the past year exploring additional ventures, I’m not back in the SideCars saddle and back to assisting with the day-to-day operations. Launching SideKick is a key component to this new era for SideCars.”

For more information about SideKick, visit SideCars’ website here.

Cross-Sell Reports Headed for Arkansas


Cross-Sell Reports, a division of Dominion Dealer Solutions,  announced today the release of localized market data and reporting solutions for Arkansas dealers.

The suite of market reports available include Cross-Sell Interactive, Market Analysis, Statewide Dealer and Leinholder Summary, and MarketIntel, the latter of which uses heat mapping to visualize new- and used-vehicle sales as well as liens based on dealership and owner location.

Shane Marcum, Cross-Sell Reports’ general product manager, believes the company’s various offerings will be beneficial to dealers in Arkansas looking sharpen their strategies in their area while also increasing their return on investment within their dealership.

“Through Cross-Sell’s suite of market reports, automobile dealers in Arkansas are given the tools to strategically attack their primary market areas,” Marcum said, “regardless of whether a dealership is in Little Rock, Texarkana, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs or anywhere else in Arkansas.”

For more information about Dominion Dealer Solutions’ offerings, visit their website. Additional details on Cross-Sell Reports can be found here.