by Jon LeSage
Over 50% of the population has smart phones – every day, customers are coming in and asking about telematics and connected cars, and what they had to offer, said Wes Lutz, owner of Extreme Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Jackson, Mich. Ford started advertising their Sync system in their vehicles a few years ago, which had a major impact on connected car technology entering the US auto market. Lutz will be participating on a panel discussion on this topic with other dealers at Telematics Detroit 2013.
Here’s a few key points Lutz made:
- All the OEMs are doing extensive training with their dealers – they need to know how to pair the phones and answer questions.
- Chrysler dealers started seeing a great system that Fiat brought over – in 2011, eight-inch touch screens were showing up in new Chrysler vehicles, Lutz said. That was a big turning point because the connectivity is really good. When customers come in for a test drive, they sync their phone into a car for a drive, and it’s a great selling point.
- One problem is that there are 17 dealer systems providers (DSP) in the US – there are standards, but not uniform standards between the connectivity between those DSPs and the manufacturers.
- All the manufacturers have different protocol for dealers to communicate. It hasn’t been a really well coordinated system to this point. He thinks it’s getting better since everyone’s architecture is becoming more open. But dealers are at the mercy of what their specific manufacturers want them to do, and they all have different in-house business systems. It’s not a very well-coordinated opportunity, from a dealer’s stand point.
- The corner could be turned when manufacturers can say to a dealer – this connectivity will benefit you and your customers in your service department.
- If the automaker can notify the dealer that there’s a service to perform for a recall, an oil change, or another service, they’ll see a big turn with dealers since they see the value proposition there.
- Lutz will be participating on a panel discussion on this topic with other dealers Telematics Detroit 2013. One perspective they’ll be sharing with the telematics industry is bridging the communication gap between dealers and manufacturers on making connected cars work well. Dealers are the end users who have to roll this out to consumers, so you can expect to hear some unvarnished truth from dealers.