Impel, a provider of artificial intelligence-powered customer lifecycle management and digital merchandising for the auto industry, has added Lorie Sharp as managing director for aftermarket — a major step in the company’s plan to expand into the automotive aftermarket space.

“Lorie is a proven leader with a track record of results in scaling hyper-growth businesses that deliver transformational solutions to the automotive aftermarket industry,” Impel CEO and co-founder Devin Daly said in a news release. “Her keen insight, industry expertise, and deep operational acumen will be indispensable to our continued growth and success.”

She has served most recently as CEO of KUKUI, a marketing platform for independent auto repair businesses. Her resume also includes positions with Identifix and asTech in nearly 25 years in the automotive aftermarket industry, working with independent shop owners in providing software designed to increase repair shop productivity, responsiveness and profitability.

In a news release, Impel said Sharp’s work with independent and franchised shop owners gives her “insight into the needs of the industry, as well as a unique understanding of the nuances and complexities shop owners experience daily.”

The hire comes as the company seeks to continue its rapid growth with a move into the aftermarket space.

“Impel is uniquely positioned to bring intelligent automation to the automotive aftermarket given its standing as the de facto standard for enterprise-grade AI in automotive retail,” Sharp said. “Cutting-edge AI automation is a critical need in the industry to enable profitable long-term growth at scale in lockstep with the transformation occurring in automotive manufacturing and retail.

“Independent shop owners can now leverage Impel’s generative conversational AI to enhance business results without adding staff or additional processes.”

Following its launch of Service AI for dealership service operations, Impel said it has noticed a growing demand for generative AI among independent service businesses, which it said often don’t have the time, resources or scale needed to effectively conduct business outreach to generate customer loyalty.

The company said its generative conversational AI platform allows aftermarket shops to fully automate customer outreach, re-engagement and scheduling by continuously mining service records and delivering personalized communications throughout the ownership lifecycle.

“Impel continues to expand into new markets and verticals at a rapid pace,” Daly said, “and the independent repair sector is an exciting new frontier with massive untapped potential that’s ripe for AI-powered lifecycle management applications and best-in-class operational solutions.”