At the NADA Convention & Expo, Spireon introduced its latest connected car solution — Kahu — the first connected car solution specifically designed for dealerships, according to the California company.
Kahu is a smart add-on designed to provide dealers streamlined inventory and lot management that also offers car buyers location tracking and stolen vehicle recovery service.
Spireon has already piloted Kahu with about 20 different dealers.
The whole connected car experience is still fragmented, and dealers have often been left out of the equation says Jason Penkethman, Spireon’s chief product officer.
According to Penkethman, with more data information, dealers can provide a much better experience for consumers.
“When we think about the connected vehicle technology and the evolution I think the dealers have been cut out of that, to some degree," Penkethman said.
“The OEMs they all have their strategy and have come up with different products and services around connected car for consumers. And then there’s some consumer apps out there that can provide different levels of visibility into vehicles, but it’s sort of patchy in what it can do between different makes and models,” he said.
Once Kahu’s hardware is installed into a vehicle, dealers can go to the app on a mobile device flip through their list of vehicles, tap on it and know exactly where it is on the lot.
Kahu users can also create geo-fences around specific lots and know which lot a vehicle is on and when it has been moved.
The mobile app not only can it find a vehicle but it also can provide a vehicle’s battery life.
“I spoke to a dealer (in February), and he told me that if put somebody in a vehicle with a dead battery, it’s like suicide because they will never buy that vehicle — and not only that, but they look at that dealership as if they’ve got a problem; that they can’t manage their inventory. So it's a huge issue for them,” Penkethman said.
“It’s a big incentive just for the lot management.”
On average Kahu finds stolen vehicles within 26 minutes and, according to Penkethman, Spireon helps recover about three vehicles a day.
“The dealer has an opportunity to make a little bit of money on the sale through to the consumer and is able to articulate really well the value because they’ve been using this technology themselves,” said Penkethman.
“Having another product to be able to sell that adds value to the customer is really important.”
Customers can use Kahu to track the vehicle they purchase and also take advantage of Send proactive alerts such as an oil change or speeding notification.
Kahu has had selling rate at about 30 percent at dealerships piloting the app, according to to Spireon. It will generally be available in the second quarter of this year.
“It’s really about providing data back to the dealership on their vehicles for lot management and providing value to the consumer when they buy the vehicle and creating that link back to the dealership for loyalty and service management,” said Penkethman
Currently, the company has about 3.75 million devices out in the market that it's tracking for various fleets and consumers and dealers.
Spireon utilizes an extensive cloud infrastructure to be able to carry all that data.
“We have a very large dealer network, we are focused on dealerships and we have connections to about 14,000 dealers,” said Penkethman