Every aspect of the auto industry is in the midst of a dramatic transition. Between the quick development of ride-sharing and autonomous technology, the slow demise of the internal combustion engine, and the growth of connected cars, everything is in flux. And car dealerships aren’t being left behind.
Like the vehicles they sell, dealers have cautiously adopted new technologies to make the experience better for salespeople, the service department, and customers. Computerization in the 80s and 90s boosted efficiency, followed by slow, incremental upgrades over time.
But take a quick look at the computer screen of nearly any service department and it’s apparent that some are stuck in the last decade – or the last century. That’s changing thanks in part to what former Wired Editor-In-Chief Chris Anderson once described as “the peace dividends of the smartphone wars.”
Smaller, faster, more energy efficient chipsets have spurred the development of everything from drones to a new wave of medical devices. Combine that with the independence of wireless data and a cloud infrastructure tying it all together, nearly anything – new or old – can come online. And cars are particularly adept at taking advantage.
Modern vehicles are, at their core, a rolling mass of computers. Tapping into those systems is relatively easy with a combination of hardware and software; getting reliable data and accurate insights is the hard part.
Take something as simple as finding a vehicle on a dealer’s lot. It takes an average of 20 minutes for a salesperson to locate a car for a prospective owner. However, with a small, connected device installed in each vehicle, that time is reduced to minutes. And when the buyer asks to take the car for a test drive, the salesperson can help another client while getting instant notifications about the vehicle’s location and how it’s being driven.
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