Donlen adds new telematics functionality for fleet drivers to DonlenDrive app


Donlen has added new telematics functionality to its DonlenDrive mobile app mobile app that provides fleet drivers with access to important vehicle documents and notifications.

DonlenDrive is now integrated with DriverPoint Telematics, which gives fleet drivers access to daily driving and vehicle health data received from telematics devices.

Prior to the added functionality delivered via the new integration, only fleet managers and supervisors were able to view daily driving and vehicle health data offered by Donlen’s DriverPoint Telematics software, according to Donlen.

“Once inside the app, drivers will be able to see how many trips they’ve taken, the number of hours they’ve spent driving, the number of miles they’ve driven within that month, as well as the location and time that unsafe driving behavior, such as harsh acceleration, deceleration or speeding has occurred,” Donlen director of telematics and safety products Tom Sloan said in a news release.

“Drivers will also be able to view critical areas of vehicle health such as odometer, tire pressure and oil level. Fleet managers and drivers will be provided visibility to the same telematics data points, so they can better work together towards decreasing risky driving behavior and improving fleet safety. We are excited that we continue to make our solution better than before.”

With DonlenDriver, drivers can access crucial information related to personal tax reporting, new vehicle ordering and company policy compliance.

ACV Auctions CEO aims to change wholesale via tech

CARY, N.C. - 

Entrepreneur George Chamoun is driven by his desire to change the wholesale industry via technology as head of ACV Auctions.

After graduating from the University at Buffalo in 1997, the North Syracuse, N.Y., native would go on to launch technology and services company Synacor with his college roommate Darren Ascone, a year later.

Chamoun, an early angel investor in ACV, spent two decades leading Synacor as president of sales and marketing prior to joining ACV.

ACV Auctions’ recent procurement of $15 million in venture funding in a Series B investment from a Silicon Valley-based firm is is the largest the company has received since it began operations in 2014.

That $15 million in venture funding, which occurred not long after Chamoun became CEO,  was led by Bessemer Venture Partners.

In September 2016, the company had announced that it both brought aboard Chamoun and raised $5 million in venture funding, led by Tribeca Venture Partners, with participation from SoftBank Capital NY, Armory Square Ventures and Rand Capital.

“It’s my job to lead the company to be a very success oriented company,” Chamoun said in an interview with Auto Remarketing. “We’re growing the business in a very, very exponential way — growing in hitting all of our goals and objectives that we’ve set for ourselves. We’re out there growing four new markets a month. We’re going strong from Buffalo all the way down to just now entering in Florida.”

“It’s helpful that I spent 20 years building a technology company where we utilized technology to change the way businesses and consumers operate. It started out with email many years ago. We were a company that operates email services, and back then that was a new service 20 years ago,” Chamoun explained.

When asked about the similarities between his prior and current role Chamoun said his commitment to growth as a leader remains the same.

“The commonality is that you’re hiring great people to build great technology, to service very important customers and changing the way the industry works and in a way adding value via technology and people, to help an industry grow and become better.”

ACV has continued to add markets this year and has plans to do even more expansion. 

“We’re very core mission-driven, everything we do is about trust and transparency, so we’re leveraging technology and our people know the trusted and transparent platform,” Chamoun said. “ And we’ve got the capital partners and investors who all believe in our mission and funded our business to help us have the capital needed to grow at a rapid rate.”

In mid-October, Auto Remarketing recorded a podcast with Chamoun, which can be found below.


VINFactor releases new 'save car feature' for dealers


Automotive technology provider VINFactor has released a new saved cars feature that allows dealers to save vehicles across any website or software tool during the vehicle research and acquisition process.

Dealers using the recently launched VINFactor product can now click on any VIN on any website to activate the new car saving feature.

The company said this and other new product features are based on dealer feedback.

“This is the first time that a dealer can save any and every vehicle, no matter the website that they’re visiting,” VINFactor founder Steve Greenfield said in a news release. “We’ve listened to dealers who have been using VINFactor, and they’ve asked us for the ability to save cars as they use auction websites, their appraisal tool and even other dealership websites. Now they’ll be able to collect all of their saved vehicles in one easy to manage list that is always available in their browser.”

In addition to the new feature, the free product provides dealers with real-time actionable insights that are available inside the browser.

“Dealers have historically been challenged with a bunch of different software products that don’t work together,” added Greenfield. “VINFactor is the solution that bridges this gap between the various websites and software tools that a dealer uses, smoothing out their internal processes.”

Dominion, Dealer Simplified partner to offer auction solution


Dealer Simplified has partnered with Dominion Dealer Solutions to give dealers using any of Dominion's customer relationship management tools access to its automotive auction solution, Auction Simplified, and wholesale buyers network.

Via a mobile auction app and desktop solution, Auction Simplified facilitates real-time live bidding from franchise dealers to wholesale buyers.

The auction service offers dealers a streamlined process that can increase wholesale profitability, according to Dealer Simplified.

“The unique feature of Auction Simplified that usually comes as a surprise to dealers is that it's essentially free to the franchise dealer. Other than a small initial set up fee, there are no sellers fees or monthly fees for the franchise dealer, and the buyer's fee is 200 percent lower than industry average,” Dealer Simplified co-founder and chief operating officer Kevin Leigh said in a news release.

Dominion's group of CRM tools include DealActivator, Autobase and Web Control.

JM&A Group releases new dealer portal built to speed up online transactions


JM&A Group recently introduced Dealer Source, its new application portal designed to speed up online transactions.

The new portal’s self-service capabilities can help dealers improve efficiencies and the customer experience, according to the company.

“Part of the value we bring to our dealers is in-store support for their day-to-day operations, and resources to increase their productivity,” said Gavin Tennant, vice president of customer services. “Dealer Source is an intuitive tool to further these efforts and streamline the processes our dealers already have in place.”

Dealer Source includes VIN scanning technology, contract entry, claim inquiry and invoice transaction history.

In addition to multiple browsers, the portal will enable complete functionality on any mobile device.

WePredict looks to free billions in warranty reserves with analytics solution


Think of it as a tool that could deliver found money. And not just a couple of bills in the pocket of your jeans, but “potentially billions,” according to analytics start-up WePredict.

WePredict is aiming to free up this much money in auto industry warranty reserves through a unique analytics solution providing manufacturers and suppliers the opportunity to stabilize and mitigate risks they have in their warranty reserves today. The company recently completed a new funding round led by Munich Re / HSB Ventures. Existing investors Breed Reply and the Development Bank of Wales provided additional funding.

According to WePredict, most U.S. auto manufacturing companies will accrue between 1 percent and 3 percent of revenue to cover warranty costs. Industry analysis has shown that companies are more likely to over accrue to avoid “nasty” shocks in the future.

Using traditional methods, WePredict insisted it can take years to effectively determine reserve adequacy, resulting in inefficient use of funds and missed business opportunities. This is particularly problematic in a time when the auto industry is looking for ways to fund autonomous and other future mobility innovations.

Due to its work with automotive, agriculture and construction equipment and their respective supply chains, WePredict has developed an accurate, consistent way to use initial repair and telematics data to determine long-term product reliability, and as a result, warranty claims. This will allow companies to better understand and estimate their warranty reserves.

Munich Re will now develop an insurance solution that will back WePredict’s calculation. The insurance solution will provide an appropriate level of certainty to adjustments in warranty reserves, and this joint value proposition will bring greater balance sheet efficiency to clients by allowing for the reallocation of funds to working capital.

“Every company has a scary story from the last 10 years where they under accrued, hence they are likely to be more conservative in reserve setting than they might need to be. This is a perfect place for insurance to help reduce risk, reduce accruals and free up capital for the business,” WePredict founder and chief executive officer James Davies said.

The initial WePredict product launch targets the automotive industry. However, the company thinks the methodology applies to other industries as well.

Renee Stephens, WePredict’s North American vice president who previously spent time at J.D. Power and General Motors, believes there is an enormous opportunity.

“These are unprecedented circumstances. Manufacturers are looking for innovative solutions to what are many times long-running business problems as they work to rapidly fund changing technology. Companies are looking to unlock the value they have, but in a responsible way,” Stephens said.

Jeffrey Sirr, Head of Munich Re’s Corporate Insurance Partner North America division, added, “We are forming strategic relationships with promising new start-ups like WePredict in conjunction with our insurance activities. This allows us to build out our own capabilities for innovative products and services, and to provide new insights and offerings to our clients that enable their business models and enhance their business opportunities.”

The opportunities to expand more broadly across the manufacturing spectrum appear equally promising, according to Davies.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to enable our customers to benefit from the accuracy of our product failure predictions,” he said. “We see vast possibilities to expand these applications. With the help of Munich Re we are taking this a step further and allowing automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to free up a portion of their balance sheet to use more productively in their business.”

The Appraisal Lane reaches over 100,000 vehicles submitted to app

AUSTIN, Texas - 

Dealers have submitted over 100,000 live trades on the Appraisal Lane app since its launch in just over two years, the company announced Tuesday.

This follows The Appraisal Lane’s September announcement that it recently expanded into the Upper Midwest.

The company now has markets across the entire Eastern Seaboard, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The dealers in our community have put in the effort and submitted over 100,000 cars independently, and they’ve incorporated The Appraisal Lane into their process, which demonstrates the value they see in it,” The Appraisal Lane co-founder and president Andrew Iorgulescu said in a news release. “Our community is both a sales channel and a used car inventory acquisition channel, and dealers use it differently depending on their needs. What’s important is that they’re using it to make more retail deals and improve their business and that’s what makes this milestone so significant.”

The Appraisal Lane app connects dealers with appraisers and buyers to receive real-time cash offers on inventory.

“We incorporated The Appraisal Lane into our process across all of our stores because it helps our business in a number of ways,” said Rob Iacono, vice president of BRAM Automotive Group.

In addition to four of five New York City Boroughs, the group also has stores in Westchester County and New Jersey, according to The Appraisal Lane.

“The expert cash offers we get while we’re working a live trade help us structure better retail deals. We’re also moving a lot of used car inventory through the app, we’re buying inventory we need, and we’re way more confident taking cars on trade. This is the best technology we’ve seen in over a decade,” Iacono continued.

Auto Remarketing will host a webinar on appraising trades with The Appraisal Lane co-founder and chief executive officer Jeff Risner on Tuesday.

Pearl integrates Experian's propensity scoring platform


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CDK acquires program partner, dealer data analytics solution provider


CDK Global announced last week it has purchased partner program participant and full-service enterprise reporting company Dashboard Dealership Enterprises (DDE).

DDE has provided its business analytic reporting suite, Executive Eye, to some of the largest dealership groups in the U.S. and increased its customer base to 600 dealership locations within the last 15 years, according to CDK.

As part of the acquisition, DDE chief executive officer Josh Blick and chief operating officer William Page III will join CDK to help lead further development of Executive Eye.

The acquisition of DDE allows CDK to deliver a more robust reporting solution for dealers, the company said.

“We are excited to bring the capabilities of Dashboard Dealership Enterprises to our customers,” CDK president and chief executive Brian MacDonald said in a news release.

“By adding industry-leading dashboard and reporting capabilities, we will immediately help CDK customers effectively measure the success of their businesses. The company’s experience with many of the nation’s largest dealers also gives us great confidence in taking Executive Eye to our customer base,” he explained.

Additionally, Executive Eye will play a vital role in the company’s efforts to enable end-to-end automotive commerce and help dealers improve efficiency and profitability via metric reporting solutions, according to the company.

“We are very pleased to be able to join CDK and continue improving on the foundation we’ve built with Executive Eye,” added Blick. “The broad capabilities of CDK will help ensure we’re delivering even more value to customers.”

Car Wars introduces AI-driven call assistant for dealers


Call tracking and marketing analytics company Car Wars recently launched a new artificial intelligence (AI) service designed to help dealers connect more callers after first introducing the automotive industry to its CRISP methodology three years ago.

“Phone calls are precious, yet every inbound call is handled in a similar inefficient way. The calls hit the same bridge or receptionist who struggles to connect the caller to the right person. Callers end up frustrated and speaking to ill-informed employees or no employee at all,” Car Wars automotive vice president Mike Haeg said in a news release.

Using AI, Car Wars’ new Cari Connect, a CRISP Agent Responding Intelligently, service analyzes DMS data and previous inbound, outbound and text conversations to determine if the caller is a new or existing customer.

When Cari Connect recognizes an existing customer, it can identify which agent handled the prior call and direct the appointment opportunity directly to the agent who last assisted the caller.

This step helps speed up the sales process because returning callers won’t need to repeat information to uninformed agents, according to Car Wars.

When a call reaches an agent, Cari Connect provides them with useful information to assist the caller. And agents also have access to the existing customer records during live calls.

“The Cari Live Calls dashboard provides the ability to actively watch calls without spending time looking through each agent's dashboard or activities,” said Arianna Goodwin, BDC manager at Asbury Automotive Group.

“The capability to click the ‘Open In CRM’ button while on phone calls has also been a huge time saver. I’ve easily been able to find active opportunities that have not been entered into our system; [Cari Connect Live Calls] has saved countless deals for our dealer group since we’ve started using it,” she went on to say.