Kelley Blue Book has been busy lately.
There was its official launch in Canada in April, as well as the arrival of KBB’s MarketLens and Pricing Service Industry Solutions to the country in August, as well.
As the company looks to further solidify its presence in Canada, Auto Remarketing Canada got the lowdown from Stephanie Turner, who is the director of product and corporate strategy for Cox Automotive Canada and a past Women & Automotive Profiles in Leadership honoree. She highlighted the move into Canada and next steps for the new entity.
Turner began by noting that the Kelley Blue Book brand and products have grown globally over the past few years, evident to those who follow the company closely. In fact, within the last decade, the company has expanded to various international markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
The latest move into Canada was in part spurred, Turner said, by “the success we have experienced in other markets.
“The learnings and framework from our previous expansions were applied as a strategy for entering the Canadian market,” said Turner. “Leveraging a wide variety of Canadian data sources, developing a reliable statistical model and building a well-rounded local team of experts are key factors to successfully transitioning into the market.”
With a strong brand awareness in Canada for KBB, she said, it was a natural decision to enter the market with the company’s well-known vehicle valuation tools, designed to support retail and wholesale pricing decisions.
The need for easily accessible and robust vehicle valuations was another reason to enter the Canadian marketplace, she explained, noting further impetus behind the move.
“Dealers want to mitigate losses in acquiring inventory and maximize profits when remarketing vehicles,” Turner said. “There is an opportunity to offer additional reference points to validate trade-in, auction, retail and private party values.”
So, how is KBB Canada, also a newcomer to the Auto Remarketing Canada Power 100 list, any different than its U.S. counterpart? How does the company work to cater to each of its unique audiences?
While the approach KBB uses for its platform and formula to developing vehicle values is consistent across all of its markets, Kelley Blue Book Canada values are powered by Canadian specific data sources.
They are then “refined” by an in-market team of valuation analysts with extensive automotive experience, Turner said. This team considers demographic, political and socioeconomic factors specific to this market.
And the products and services launched by KBB Canada were designed in particular to serve the specific needs of Canadian consumers, dealers and industry partners, she added.
Turner said this “has allowed for a smooth launch into the market.”
As for where the company’s focus has been since entering the new playing field, serving current client needs first has been top of mind, as well as making sure to launch “industry relevant products.” This includes the aforementioned MarketLens and Pricing Service Industry Solutions in Canada.
MarketLens, the company said, delivers used-car Kelley Blue Book Values in one environment. A user can identify the vehicle by VIN or by year/make/model to receive immediate access to what the company describes as industry-relevant values for business.
And for a customized experience, Pricing Service integrates Kelley Blue Book Values into a dealer or OEM website, mobile app, inventory management system or loan origination platform.
The bigger picture
Parent company Cox Automotive, has been making moves in Canada in a variety of ways over the past year. These also include adding new capabilities for Dealer.com in Canada this past spring.
“We were excited to introduce Dealer.com under the Cox Automotive Canada portfolio better meeting the needs of our market by offering additional functionality, capability and service,” said Turner of the move. “The evolution of our product played a significant role in delivering a more fluid digital marketing experience.”
As for what the enhancement entailed, Dealer.com now positions websites, SEO, SEM, content and social media as a single cohesive strategy, which is designed to help its customers to better differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Cox Automotive’s Dealertrack has also been actively releasing new offerings in Canada with the launch of its Protection Driver tool, which came out late last year, and its Reserve it Now product.
The first version of Protection Driver allowed a consumer to review generic descriptions of the F&I products available at the dealership and select the products they were interested in. Since then, the tool has been enhanced to support custom content, accessories, and content from after-market partners, as well as generic content with pricing that updates the consumer’s payment in real-time, as each product is selected and added to the deal.
“We know that consumers buy more F&I when they can self-select through a digital interface; and knowing the value and how these products will affect their payment offers consumers an additional level of transparency,” Turner said.
Reserve it Now, a digital retailing tool, is a new Dealertrack feature that allows a consumer to securely reserve a vehicle on a Tier 1 or Tier 3 website with their credit card.
This feature can be added as part of the company’s digital retailing suite, or as a standalone product.
Turner said that consumers can reserve any vehicle at any stage in the process, and dealers and/or manufacturers can customize the length of time the vehicle will be held and the dollar amount of the reservation.
There are two models the dealer or manufacturer can choose from:
— The Deferred Charge Model: Similar to the hold that a hotel places on your credit card, the hold is automatically released once the one- to seven-day hold period (defined by the dealer/manufacturer) has been reached.
— The Immediate Charge Model: The consumer’s credit card is charged immediately for the amount defined by the dealer/manufacturer.
As for what’s next for Cox Automotive in Canada, Turner said the company will “continue to evolve our products in a way that makes sense for our customers and the industry.
“We continue to assess the opportunity to introduce both North America and international product and service offerings for the Canadian market on an ongoing basis.”