Products/Software

PERQ joins growing CDK Global Partner Program

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS - 

PERQ is the latest company to join the expanding CDK Global Partner Program, the company announced Thursday.

The program recently reached over 350 partners and 450 unique applications, according to CDK.

“The continued expansion of the CDK Partner Program plays a critical role in our ability to enable end-to-end automotive commerce for our customers,” CDK Data Services vice president and general manager Howard Gardner said in a news release.

“We want to provide dealers with more choices and ultimately help them deliver a better customer experience through increased integration with CDK systems and partner applications. We look forward to further broadening the range of solutions available to support dealer operations and the marketing of dealership inventory and services,” he said.

PERQ’s Online Guided Shopping Solution, designed to increase leads and improve close rates for dealerships, is now part of the program’s marketplace of applications.

“We’re very pleased to introduce PERQ as the newest member of the CDK Global Partner Program,” added Gardner. “PERQ is a welcome addition to our vibrant program that provides dealers with a range of partner choices and the assurance that their programs can be seamlessly integrated with our applications.”

The program fosters data and workflow integration between CDK products and partner applications. Participants can integrate with a range of CDK applications and CDK dealer websites.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the CDK Global Partner Program, which will make it easy for forward-thinking dealerships to take advantage of our unique online guided shopping solution,” said Stephanie Ragozzino, executive vice president of product at PERQ. “PERQ helps dealers make better online connections with buyers by creating an online guided shopping environment that rivals the experiences consumers get from big brand websites – all with just one line of code on their existing website.”



Auction Edge brings on new exec, reaches over 115 EDGE Simulcast customers

SEATTLE - 

Auction Edge announced Friday it has attained over 115 customers running its EDGE Simulcast platform powered by Velocicast and brought aboard new senior vice president Julie Warpool to oversee the augmentation of all the company's auction systems.

“In partnership with the developers behind Velocicast we committed to crafting an unparalleled user experience for auction user, buyer and seller. The volume of vehicles running through the system coupled with tens of thousands of buyers channeled through Edge Pipeline create a truly immersive experience for all parties,” Auction Edge chief executive officer Dan Diedrich said in a news release.

Auction Edge began offering its multi-lane, multi-auction bidding platform fitted with a modern and intuitive interface design earlier this year, according to the company.

“Since changing simulcast providers to EDGE Simulcast powered by Velocicast nearly three months ago, we have experienced nothing but good things,” said Shawn Glatz, general manager at Morton Auto Auction. “We are hearing great back from our online buyers as well as commercial consignors who utilize the online rep capabilities. The ease in which they both can conduct their business is what it is all about. We couldn’t be any happier with the product and the service we are receiving.”

Warpool has been in automotive remarketing for over 25 years, according to Auction Edge. She spent the last 17 years with Manheim/Cox Automotive, where she served in positions as senior director of vehicle solutions, operational excellence, product strategy and technology.

“Julie has a proven history of innovation, but as importantly, execution in our industry. Julie’s skillset, mindset and experience align perfectly with our mission to modernize and deliver the solutions our customers need,” added Diedrich. “Moreover, Julie will assist us in the evolution of all Edge products to help keep auctions relevant, resilient and on the leading edge for years to come.”

Additionally, Warpool is recognized as an architect of enterprise-wide technological and operational solutions.

She has several patents for live-bid event online auction platforms, vehicle inspection/damage estimation and digital imaging systems, according to Auction Edge.

“It’s so exciting to become part of Auction Edge and help carry out the vision of evolving the universe for independent auctions,” Warpool said.

“There are a few things that attracted me to Edge. The first is the opportunity to give back to an industry that I’ve grown up in and unleash a common vision that the Edge team’s share. Second, is the culture and the people. The folks I’ve met are excited to come to work every day and there is a buzz about what can be accomplished. It’s wonderful to see inspirational teams who give their all and think beyond the possible,” she went on to say.

Warpool began her auction career in 1992 at ADT Automotive, which was acquired by Manheim in 2000.



Black Book becomes AutoAlert valuation partner

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

Black Book announced Thursday it has partnered with AutoAlert to populate the data-mining and communication solution’s algorithms with its vehicle valuation data.

“With the addition of Black Book, our dealer customers will have access to the industry’s most accurate vehicle valuation data, which can make a significant difference in elevating profit potential,"  AutoAlert general manager and executive vice president Meg Stapleton said in a news release. “Today’s dealership environment requires resources and partners that are trusted by automotive professionals, particularly in an effort to grow their business and maximize sales potential.”

With Black Book as its valuation partner, dealers using AutoAlert can maximize sales opportunities and profit potential when making trade valuations as well as during service and repair visits, the company said.

“Data and equity mining are practices that are not necessarily new to the automotive world, but recently have become even more critical as dealers continue to find ways to maximize profits in light of a sales environment that has begun to plateau,” said Jared Kalfus, senior vice president of Black Book. “As such, dealers need the most accurate vehicle valuation data in order to effectively leverage all data practices, and we’re proud to know they can rely on Black Book to put them in the best possible position.”



INFINITI introduces new Amazon Alexa Skills for vehicle voice control

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 

INFINITI drivers in the U.S. can now control vehicle features such as unlocking, locking, remote-start and more using newly integrated Amazon Alexa Skills designed to interact with their vehicles, the company announced Tuesday.

INFINITI said it has expanded already-available features within INFINITI InTouch Services and INFINITI Connection to integrate the new Amazon Alexa Skills now available.

"We are pleased to offer this new technology in conjunction with Amazon Alexa to INFINITI owners, who have come to expect exciting innovations and conveniences from our brand," INFINITI Americas vice president Randy Parker said in a news release.

"We are not only about bringing premium features to luxury vehicles, but we are also looking to the advancements that will take our cars, and the transportation space, into the future."

Via the Alexa Skills Store, INFINITI owners with INFINITI InTouch Services or Infiniti Connection equipped with their vehicle can access the new skills that enable voice commands.

The Alexa integration requires owners to have active subscriptions to INFINITI InTouch Services or INFINITI Connection.

Once set up, owners can ask Alexa to remote lock/unlock, honk the horn, flash the lights and start or stop the engine depending on the model.

For other commands such as remote start, a 4-digit pin is also required for added security.

The following is a list of the current INFINITI models the Amazon Alexa Skills are now available on:

INFINITI InTouch Services:

•           2018: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q60, QX60, Q70, QX80

•           2017: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q60, QX60

•           2016: Q50, Q50 Hybrid

INFINITI Connection:

•           2017: Q70, QX80

•           2016: Q70, Q70 Hybrid, QX60, QX60 Hybrid, QX80

•           2015: Q50, Q50 Hybrid, Q70, Q70 Hybrid, QX60, QX60 Hybrid, QX80

•           2014: Q50, Q70, QX60, QX80

•           2013: M37, M56, JX35, QX56

INFINITI said it plans to expand the voice control technology to additional models in the future.



CarStory launches AI-driven sales prediction leaderboard

AUSTIN, Texas - 

CarStory announced Tuesday general availability of CarStory Leaderboard, a new service that uses AI and machine learning to predict both when and for how much a vehicle will sell in a local market.

CarStory Leaderboard uses the same advanced technology that it built into CarStory Insights and is currently available for free at .

"CarStory Leaderboard is an exciting way for dealers to monitor their local market," Vast chief executive officer John Price said in a news release. "Using our AI-driven predictive analytics dealers can get a peek into the future and track their progress from week-to-week.”

The new service can help dealers maximize turn and profits at the same time, according to CarStory.

In addition to predicting when a car might sell, the CarStory Leaderboard also uses AI to rank dealerships based on the predicted turn. 



Complex algorithm helps Cars.com make 6 site improvements

CHICAGO - 

With more shoppers spending time online before ever arriving at the showroom, Cars.com highlighted the six improvements the vehicle listings site recently completed.

Cars.com explained that it has unveiled an improved search experience for its users, streamlined its search results pages, enhanced its vehicle inventory pages with rich visualization and expanded its suite of pricing tools with the launch of “badging.” The sleek new interface, updated search features and innovative shopping tools are designed for speed and personalization, enabling shoppers to quickly and easily find the right vehicle for their needs.

“Our real-time behavioral data and insights from nearly 20 years of consumer data enable us to deliver an experience that is defined by relevance for the user. Our goal is to help shoppers find the right car, at the right price, from the right dealership faster than ever,” said Tony Zolla, chief product officer at Cars.com.

“Our best-in-class user experience brings us one step closer to realizing our mission of transforming the car shopping experience to be more rewarding, emotionally engaging and frictionless,” Zolla continued.

The site’s advancements include:

—Powerful navigation: Improved search functionality and guided navigation to help users find the right vehicle faster.

—Re-launched inventory pages: Streamlined to better merchandise vehicles with bold photos and videos.

—Smart filters: Contextual filters help users dig deep to search inventory based on their needs and change dynamically in real-time.

—Best Match sorting: Powered by a custom algorithm that weights multiple factors to arrive at search recommendations relevant for each specific user.

—Improved compare page: Lets users better compare up to four similar models and find the right car for their needs.

—Badging: New badge icons on the inventory pages help provide more context behind why a vehicle is priced the way it is. Badging leverages machine learning to assess the closest comparable vehicle and considers vehicle features either in high-demand for the region or those that impact the price beyond year, make, model and trim.

The four badges include:

—Great Deal: which means the vehicle is priced significantly below market average

—Good Deal: which identifies cars priced at or slightly below market average

—Fair Price: for vehicles priced slightly above market average

—Well-Equipped: highlighting vehicles that include additional features that are affecting the price.

"In addition to our intelligent search engine and efficient user experience, we continue to roll out new pricing tools so consumers are confident they're paying a fair price and getting the best deal based on their needs,” Zolla said. “With our new Badging icons we wanted to provide more than just a standard price rating.

“By calling out specific vehicle attributes that may be impacting the price and weighing additional factors such as supply and demand, we are able to produce some of the most accurate pricing context on the market while helping consumers understand not just the ‘what,’ but the ‘why' behind a price,” he continued.

“This helps car shoppers, but it also enables local dealers to be more transparent with their customers, show value beyond price and, ultimately, close the deal quickly and efficiently,” Zolla went on to say.



AutoWeb finalizes license agreement with DealerX

IRVINE, Calif. - 

A day after officially changing its name, dealership lead provider AutoWeb — formerly Autobytel —  on Tuesday entered into a license agreement with DealerX Partners,a provider of data-driven marketing products for car dealerships and OEMs.

Under the terms of the agreement, AutoWeb will receive a perpetual license to access and use DealerX’s proprietary platform and technology for targeted online marketing. The company indicated this process will be implemented through the creation of consumer information databases and audiences, which will allow AutoWeb to generate traffic, clicks, and leads.

Officials explained DealerX will operate the platform for AutoWeb and provide enhancements to and support for the platform for an initial five-year period, which may be extended in perpetuity.

“Today, most dealers know very little about users of their websites and many display the same message to all users—a ‘one size fits all’ strategy,” AutoWeb president and chief executive officer Jeff Coats said in a news release. “Dealers can only hope that the offers presented are relevant and attractive.

“At AutoWeb, our critical mission is to know what users want and when they want it in order to deliver the best marketing at the best time — and to deliver that user to the right dealership at the right time,” Coats continued. “In DealerX, we have found a powerful partner in this mission, and we look forward to leveraging the DealerX platform to further capitalize on the evolving consumer and automotive marketplace.”

At the end of 2016, AutoWeb promoted Billy Ferriolo to chief operating officer to accelerate improvements in its clicks and lead generation businesses. AutoWeb said this licensing arrangement is a prime example of that improvement.

 “DealerX has created a unique, all-in-one automotive online marketing platform encompassing data collection, activation, analytics and attribution,” Ferriolo said. “Its platform employs extensive machine learning in the determination of what content to show which consumer across multiple devices, where and when. This is all derived from the real-time capture and scoring of consumer-driven behavioral events.

“We look forward to using this audience intelligence to deliver a better car-buying experience for consumers,” he went on to say.

AutoWeb mentioned the transaction consideration consists of a lump-sum payment to DealerX of $8.0 million upon the execution of the agreement.

During the initial five-year support period, DealerX will have the ability to earn shares of AutoWeb common stock representing approximately 5 percent of AutoWeb’s outstanding common stock if AutoWeb’s market capitalization reaches $225 million.

If these shares are issued to DealerX, its obligation to provide platform operation, enhancements and support for the platform will continue in perpetuity.

Alternatively, AutoWeb may elect to make a lump-sum payment of $12.5 million upon the occurrence of certain events in order to extend DealerX’s obligations in perpetuity. If such a lump-sum payment is made, DealerX’s right to receive shares of common stock is terminated.

Tax and stock implications

As of Dec. 31, AutoWeb reported that it had approximately $75.8 million in available net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

In light of the company’s recent stock repurchases, the company reminds stockholders about AutoWeb’s Tax Benefit Preservation Plan dated May 26, 2010, as amended on April 14, 2014 and May 26 of this year between the company and Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as rights agent.

AutoWeb explained the plan was adopted by the company’s board of directors to preserve the company’s NOLs and other tax attributes, and thus reduce the risk of a possible change of ownership under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any such change of ownership under Section 382 would limit or eliminate the ability of the company to use its existing NOLs for federal income tax purposes.

In general, AutoWeb pointed out that an ownership change will occur if the company’s 5 percent shareholders, for purposes of Section 382, collectively increase their ownership in the company by an aggregate of more than 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. The plan is designed to reduce the likelihood that the company experiences such an ownership change by discouraging any person or group from becoming a new 5 percent shareholder under Section 382.

The company acknowledged rights issued under the plan could be triggered upon the acquisition by any person or group of 4.9 percent or more of the company’s outstanding common stock and could result in substantial dilution of the acquirer’s percentage ownership in the company.

“There is no guarantee that the Plan will achieve the objective of preserving the value of the company’s NOLs,” officials said.

As of Oct. 1, there were 13,082,948 shares of the company’s common stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding.

“Persons or groups considering the acquisition of shares of beneficial ownership of the company’s common stock should first evaluate their percentage ownership based on this revised outstanding share number to ensure that the acquisition of shares does not result in beneficial ownership of 4.9 percent or more of outstanding shares,” officials said.

In connection with the license agreement, the company’s board of directors considered and granted to DealerX an exemption under the plan with respect to the shares of common stock that may be issued to DealerX under the license agreement, and DealerX and the company entered into a stockholder agreement that provides for various restrictions on transfers of the shares and the grant of a proxy to the company to vote the shares as long as the restrictions remain in effect.

For more information about the Plan, please visit .



RMS Automotive revamps PSA Groupe’s dealer web portal

MUNICH - 

RMS Automotive announced Tuesday it has redesigned the dealer web portal of its partner and client PSA Groupe to optimize the platform's customer experience and help dealers conveniently access stock.

The French car manufacturer's dealer portal MOVE was launched in 2012 and has since sold more than 600,000 vehicles to 13,000 dealers, according to RMS.

Newly implemented changes to the revamped portal follow a user satisfaction research study RMS Automotive and PSA Groupe provided its dealer audience earlier this year.

“We are committed to developing agile solutions with the dealer in mind,” PSA Groupe head of international wholesale used car operations Christian Vanoni said in a news release.

“The solutions that RMS Automotive bring to PSA Groupe ensure that we are channeling the right vehicles to the right dealers at the right times, and that the buying experience for the dealers is a positive one.”

The enhanced MOVE portal is available in all PSA Groupe operational markets.

MOVE monitors bidding and purchasing activity in real-time, and dealers can access the portal on any device.

“The enhanced PSA Groupe dealer portal underscores our commitment to producing innovations that are highly responsive to our clients’ needs,” Sebastian Fuchs, senior director of RMS Automotive European sales and marketing said.

“The enhanced dealer portal ensures that PSA Groupe is at the forefront of innovative technology solutions and ensures that their dealers are able to access stock when and where convenient for them. The new portal aims to create a truly positive user experience that is personal, compelling, positive and memorable based on in-depth understanding of how mobile users browse for and purchase products,” he explained.

In addition to access to historical data and VIN-based vehicle details such as condition reports via MOVE, users can also take advantage of flexible bid, purchase and delivery options.

MOVE is currently live in 22 countries.



Selly, Wayne Reaves partner to sync sales and inventory data

SAN FRANCISCO - 

Selly Automotive announced Wednesday it has integrated its CRM platform with the Wayne Reaves Software DMS to enable sales and inventory data to sync for the company's dealers.

“For dealerships looking for a CRM solution, we are happy to announce this partnership to assist dealerships and their teams in maximizing sales opportunities. This integration will allow our dealers to have the tools they need to close more deals and maximize profits,” Wayne Reaves Software president Jason Reaves said in a news release.

When it comes to making deals, the new partnership specifically allows dealers to increase their knowledge about customers during the sales process, according to Selly Automotive.

“This integration reinforces our commitment to providing solutions for dealerships using Wayne Reaves Software,” added Zach Klempf, Selly Automotive founder and chief executive officer.

“We worked closely with the Wayne Reaves’ team to ensure our mutual clients’ inventory and sales data will be automatically transferred nightly to the Selly CRM.”



Dealer.com introduces Autotrader, KBB site optimization to personalize dealer content for shoppers

ATLANTA - 

Dealer.com announced Thursday it has unveiled a new website experience optimization that personalizes content for car buyers based on individual shopper behavior across Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

The new data integration is designed to help dealers deliver personalized shopping experiences online in a way that saves time and money, according to the company.

Using shopper behavior data from Autotrader.com and KBB.com, the new product deploys inventory and fixed ops marketing content, specials and assets automatically on the site.

"The leading consumer sites have succeeded by creating a highly personalized customer experience that anticipates what they want, and consumers today are expecting that experience from every company," Dealer.com senior director of website and platform products Bob George said in a news release.

"Our new integration will provide dealers with an essential asset to remain competitive amid the challenging sales outlook and evolving consumer preferences. Experience Optimization generally results in click-through rates two to two and a half times higher on personalized content than on non-personalized content," he explained.

This month, the new automated technology will be featured at the Driving Sales Executive Summit Innovation Cup Product Showcase in Las Vegas, beginning on Oct. 22.



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