Newgen Results Corp., ADP and IBM have created an Internet site where vehicle owners can get information on their vehicles and make appointments with dealership service departments.
Myautogarage.com is a web-based service for dealers, manufacturers and consumers. It will link all three entities to build loyalty, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.
Behind the scenes, Newgen's technology pulls information from a dealership's management system and uses that information to update the individualized website for each consumer's vehicle. Newgen also sends regular service reminders to consumers in the form of letters and e-mail. If there is no response, a phone call follows.
"This is a consumercentric portal, an electronification of consumer management data," says Jim Roche, Newgen's senior vice president of operations and e-services.
Myautogarage.com doesn't forget non-computer-savvy customers. Newgen claims it is as comfortable and efficient using letters and the telephone as it is sending e-mail.
"Internet solutions often leave out the non-Internet consumer," says Mr. Roche. "Eighty percent of people want to do it the old-fashioned way."
Dealers who opt to offer on-line scheduling pay $2.50 for each appointment from myautogarage.com.
It's a great system with a great profit potential for dealers, says Joel Shuflin, ADP's marketing director.
Launch of an Internet website for purchases of supplies and services added to the NADA convention's heavy focus on electronic commerce.
The new site is Houston-based BBCN.com.
An array of dealers have invested or signed up as charter subscribers, including company directors Bert Boeckmann, Galpin Motors; and John Anderson, Anderson Group, both of California.
BBCN Chairman Robert Dowlearn says the site will enable dealers to bid on purchases of office supplies, specialized vehicle equipment, parts and accessories.
Participating dealers and suppliers pay fees ranging from $150 to $200 a month, but there are no transaction fees on sales.
BBCN expects also to raise income from advertising on the site and has obtained investments from several charter dealers.
"We have lacked a central purchasing system and this is the first initiative that gives us one," says Mr. Anderson, who is based in Palo Alto, CA.
Auto dealers spend $59 billion a year on goods and services, excluding vehicle parts and payroll, Mr. Dowlearn estimates.
Minority dealers plan website The GM Minority Dealers Association is looking into forming its own website.
So says Fred Poe, president of the association.
The group also wants to increase opportunities for members in dealership consolidation efforts.
New NADA Chairman Harold B. Wells tells the group that the NADA is "fully supportive" of the goals of minority dealers. NADA counts 450 minority dealer principals.
Meanwhile, the association at a banquet announced winners of scholarships made possible by contributions to the United Negro College Fund and Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Mr. Poe, owner of Southgate Pontiac-GMC, Southgate, MI, emphasizes the need to increase profitability of minority dealers, as well as their franchise totals and customer acceptance.
Association founders are Gregory Baranco, Baranco Pontiac-GMC, Lilburn, GA; Edwin Biagas, Cadillac of Jenkintown, Jenkintown, PA; Charles Harrell, Buick of Countryside, Inc., Countryside, IL; and Anthony March, Tony March Buick and Saturn of Hartford, CT