By Christopher Schouten, Marketing Director, RecovR
The automotive industry is one of America’s richest assets and one of the most challenging to protect. Each year, 800,000 cars are stolen in the U.S., resulting in a loss of $6.4 billion. A 2021 survey by RecovR (a vehicle theft recovery solution provider) revealed that 30% of car buyers have had their vehicle stolen, leaving more consumers than you might think grappling with the effects of auto theft.
The same study, which surveyed U.S residents aged 22-73 who both own a car AND are planning on purchasing a new one this year, showed that 53% of respondents are concerned about auto theft. That number has only increased in the wake of COVID-19, with 49% saying they are more concerned now than before the pandemic. And they aren’t wrong to be worried; not only is concern about car theft on the rise, unfortunately, so is car theft itself.
Dealers have an opportunity to sell vehicle theft recovery solutions that address key consumer concerns and bring incremental revenue to the business. Here are some tips on how to capitalize on this shift in consumer attitudes and bring efficiencies to the dealership in the process.
Close the Awareness Gap
Don’t assume car buyers know there is a clear solution to their vehicle theft concerns. The RecovR research showed that 45% of them have never heard of theft recovery products, and 60% have never used one.
Despite the lack of awareness, there is a surprisingly high willingness to buy among consumers once introduced to solutions. 63% of consumers in households making $75k+ reported that they’d be willing to pay anywhere from $15-25 per month for vehicle theft recovery services.
Make sure to train the finance and insurance team to bring awareness at the time of sale to products that combat vehicle theft.
Keep it Simple
It may seem surprising, but car buyers aren’t looking for anything fancy. They prioritize basic features of theft recovery solutions. At the top of consumers’ wish lists are solutions that recover their car if it’s stolen, locate it if they forget where they parked it, and track it when someone else uses it, with OR without permission.
Customers want an easy-to-use solution that can help get their car back to them in as little time as possible and with as little damage as possible.
Offer Them Peace of Mind
Car buyers at the finance and insurance desk are about to invest a lot of money in a brand-new vehicle, and they’re likely to be thinking about what they can do to protect their purchase. In this crucial moment, you can offer them peace of mind.
Research shows two main factors will help close the sale of a vehicle theft recovery product: a limited warranty and an insurance discount. 71% percent said they would be more likely to purchase if the service paid $5,000+ in the event their vehicle wasn’t recovered. 77% percent said they were more likely to buy if they could get a 5-10% discount on their auto insurance for using the service.
Choose a Win/Win Solution
While the goal is to solve customer pain points, dealers can now find solutions that benefit both car buyers and the dealership at the same time and eliminate the extra headache of multiple complicated products and processes.
The average dealer handles hundreds of cars on their lots each day that all need to be unloaded, inspected, onboarded, detailed, and sold quickly to maximize profit margins. A good vehicle theft recovery system can also double as an advanced lot management solution and should help create a more efficient dealership in addition to new revenue opportunities.
Unfortunately, a poll of dealers showed that challenges with most vehicle theft recovery solutions outweigh the benefits, citing the time and expertise required to hardwire the device into each car, the complexity of removing the device if a customer chooses not to purchase it, high upfront costs, and the increasing possibility that installing an after-market device will violate the manufacturer’s warranty, among others.
Dealers aren’t alone in their concerns: “Most lot management and theft recovery solutions are costly, complex to install and use, and don’t take consumer privacy seriously enough,” says Tanner Johnson, principal analyst for data security, vertical market applications, OMDIA.
According to most dealers, the ideal win/win solution entails zero upfront costs, a wireless locator device with a one-minute install, free lot management, and easy sell-through.
Think Future Forward
COVID-19 has disrupted the auto industry, but changes have been a long time coming. Wired products in a wireless world and upfront costs that are at odds with today’s dealership business model beg a revolutionized solution to an age-old problem.
If consumers can unlock their car with an app, they want to be able to track their car’s location on an app, too. For best results, offer car buyers a solution that is simple and helps them sleep at night — all while benefiting the dealership’s bottom line.
About the Author
Christopher Schouten is the Marketing & Research Director for RecovR, the 2-in-1 lot management and theft recovery solution for dealers. Christopher has worked for 20 years for companies whose mission is to protect devices, assets, and data for high-value business models. He joined RecovR’s parent company – Kudelski Group – in 2013. Before that, he held various marketing and operational management roles in pay-TV and mobile and fixed telecommunications in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Switzerland.