Of the more than 500 expo booths at the National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s 2023 Show in Dallas this year, one exhibitor stood out for a particular reason: UVeye, a provider of automatic vehicle inspection systems.
No, its 2,000-sq.-ft. (186-sq.-m.) display area wasn’t the flashiest or biggest. Some major exhibitors covered much more floorspace (and airspace with their double-decker structures).
Rather, UVeye was unusual because, along with its staffers working at its booth were six fixed-operations employees and managers from various dealerships. They were on hand to demonstrate how they use the scanner products back home.
The Israeli-based company recently has added several dealerships to its client list. Plus, the company scored a big break last year when General Motors announced plans to install the automated scanning equipment at its dealerships nationwide.
Dealers who were early adopters – such as Mike Bowsher, dealer principal for the Carl Black dealer group that runs Chevrolet, Buick and GMC stores in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee – were instrumental in persuading their automakers to get on board with the UVeye systems.
“Much of the automaker interest in our products was generated by the dealers,” UVeye CEO Amir Hever, tellsWards.
He notes that GM, Volvo and CarMax each have launched initiatives to support the installation of UVeye inspection systems at their dealerships and used-car auction facilities throughout the U.S.
GM’s NADA convention display area also included a section showcasing UVeye technology.
(GM, Hyundai, Toyota, Volvo and CarMax are among UVeye investment partners.)
UVeye hopes to scale through GM’s 4,100 dealership network, providing scanning for both the service and used-car departments.
Hever co-founded UVeye in 2016 with his brother Ohad Hever. Its original system was designed to scan vehicle undercarriages for bombs at restricted Israeli military and government facilities.
The scanners use proprietary sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, machine-learning and high-tech camera systems.
The three current systems are:
Helios – An underbody scanner that detects a wide variety of problems including frame damage, missing parts and fluid leaks, as well as brake and exhaust-system issues.
Artemis – It checks tire quality. In seconds, it identifies tire brand, technical specifications, air pressure, tread depth, sidewall damage, alignment issues and if a vehicle’s tires are mismatched.
Atlas – A 360-degree detection system that checks sheet metal for dings, dents and scratches. It also scans bumpers, door locks, grilles and windows.
“There is a massive difference between automated and manual inspections,” Hever says. “Automated scans are more accurate and take just seconds to complete.”
Hever describes 2022 as a banner year for his company, with further expansion in North America planned this year.
“Our programs with Volvo and General Motors have substantially expanded the use of high-speed vehicle-inspection technology in the dealership space here in the United States,” he says. “Our next goal will be to help standardize inspection processes with UVeye technology in the auction world.”
Among people stationed at UVeye’s NADA booth were service department dealership representatives from Audi, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota and Volvo dealerships.
That group included Samantha Diaz, a service adviser at Audi New Rochelle (NY).
“A lot of customers are surprised we have this equipment,” she tells Wards. “It emphasizes the luxury and engineering of our brand.”
Every vehicle that arrives at the dealership’s service drive gets an automated inspection. Customers see the scanning results on screens at the service advisers’ workstations.
“It helps in interacting with customers,” Diaz says. “It makes them feel we care about their car and its condition.”
It’s also an effective way to sell service and service products, she adds.
“A couple days ago I showed a customer her tires were seven years old. She immediately authorized replacing them. It’s a great tool to upsell and to get to know the customers.”
Customers of the Carl Black Kennesaw dealership outside of Atlanta “have been very receptive,” says service adviser Caleb Morgan at UVeye’s NADA display area.
“It’s transparency,” he says. “It’s better to visually show that their car has, say, an undercarriage leak (detected by the automated system’s cameras).”
He adds: “It’s not me telling them, it’s the car revealing itself. It builds trust. It tells not only what is needed but what is not needed.”
That goes a long way in establishing service-department credibility, Morgan says. “It makes it easier for me, too.”