Greg Ross

Connected Car Practice Manager | motormindz

Greg Ross leads the Connected Car practice for motormindz, a leading automotive consultancy and accelerator. He is also a Board Member, Investor and Advisor for several Connected Car businesses. Greg led a successful 31-year career with General Motors, where he was a key member of the leadership team for GM’s OnStar business unit. Greg and his team created industry-first connected car partnerships in Wireless, Insurance, Fleet, Infotainment, and Mobile Commerce. Earlier, Greg was instrumental in OnStar’s profitable growth, leading the effort to improve subscriber conversion rates by over 60%. Greg is a regular speaker and contributor, discussing the many business opportunities created by connected technology.
Connected Car Opportunities in Parts and Service

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Connected Car Opportunities in Parts and Service There has been a lot of attention paid to opportunities for Connected Car technologies in Sales and F&I, with ideas like personalized shopping, deliveries, and data-based F&I products. But there are also several opportunities for dealers to use Connected Car technologies to improve quality of service, performance, and efficiency in the delivery of both Parts and Service. Quick Background: This topic is relevant now because Connected Car technologies are finally reaching “critical mass.” Well over 90% of all new cars and trucks sold in the US in 2021 will come with built-in abilities to transmit and receive data, remote software, and vehicle commands. This means that key data about each vehicle’s mechanical condition, driving usage, and precise location can be collected and used to improve operations at the dealership. As always, it is critical to remember that customers must be fully informed and provide their consent for any Connected Car services to be utilized. How Connected Car Data and Commands Can Affect Parts and Service:   Current Operations In the near term, there are several opportunities to improve day-to-day operations of the Service and Parts departments, while also improving the customer experience.   The highest ROI current opportunity is to use data from the vehicle to determine when maintenance and service events need to be scheduled. The vehicle “knows” what its mileage is, when it needs an oil change, and when it has diagnostic codes that indicate different needs for service. Customer outreach using this vehicle data is much more timely and often more effective than outreach based on customer behavior modeling or “estimated” mileages.    A connected car can also facilitate advanced planning. By checking periodically on maintenance needs, dealers can anticipate approximately when a customer will need maintenance. The dealer can then plan ahead to schedule service at a time that is both convenient to the customer and efficient for the dealer, smoothing out service operations as well as monthly top and bottom lines.    Finally, an advanced review of a vehicle’s maintenance and service needs can facilitate advanced ordering and stocking of parts to ensure that they are available when the vehicle is scheduled for service. In short, dealers can more efficiently utilize their personnel and operations, while providing more reliable and convenient services for customers. Several OEMs now include automated maintenance reminders within their Mobile Owner Apps, and similar service reminder programs are offered as well. These types of programs have been shown to increase both customer service satisfaction and retention. The dealer plays a critical role in ensuring that all new vehicle purchasers have their Mobile Owner Apps activated during delivery, along with enrollment in automated maintenance reminders. If your OEM has not yet enabled these services, or for older vehicles, dealers should also look into third-party platforms, which not only offer service reminders, but also theft recovery, emergency assistance, and other services. Advanced Service and Parts Opportunities Connected Car technologies will allow more advanced capabilities, too. We have already seen extensive use of Over-the-Air software updates by Tesla, but Tesla is not alone in adding OTA capabilities. Every major OEM is working to expand their abilities to update major vehicle systems this way, as well as how to share these responsibilities with their dealers. Tesla and others have also shown the potential for additional revenue from software-based “accessories” and feature subscriptions. These are optional software enhancements that allow the vehicle to be customized versus a base factory configuration. OEM Service and Parts departments will soon be able to recommend and deliver these accessories to an increasing number of vehicle owners. OEMs are also increasingly developing more predictive service algorithms. These programs process data from large numbers of vehicles to develop models that can accurately predict service problems before they occur. As confidence in these programs increases, dealers will be encouraged to contact customers to schedule service well before a breakdown occurs. Finally, Connected Car technologies will enable many new remote services. It is easy to locate vehicles and to provide digital keys to give access to an authorized technician. This will facilitate both services at the customer’s location as well as easy pick-ups and exchanges with courtesy transportation vehicles. The Connected Car will bring dramatic changes and opportunities to all parts of the modern dealership, and motormindz’ Connected Car Practice can help guide dealers on the best ways to maximize the advantages of these developments. If you’d like to learn more, please contact motormindz’ Connected Car Practice Lead, Greg Ross.
Using Data to Connect on-Line and in-Person Car Shopping

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Connected Car Opportunities in Parts and Service There has been a lot of attention paid to opportunities for Connected Car technologies in Sales and F&I, with ideas like personalized shopping, deliveries, and data-based F&I products. But there are also several opportunities for dealers to use Connected Car technologies to improve quality of service, performance, and efficiency in the delivery of both Parts and Service. Quick Background... This topic is relevant now because Connected Car technologies are finally reaching “critical mass.” Well over 90% of all new cars and trucks sold in the US in 2021 will come with built-in abilities to transmit and receive data, remote software, and vehicle commands. This means that key data about each vehicle’s mechanical condition, driving usage, and precise location can be collected and used to improve operations at the dealership. As always, it is critical to remember that customers must be fully informed and provide their consent for any Connected Car services to be utilized. How Connected Car Data and Commands Can Affect Parts and Service: 1. Current Operations In the near term, there are several opportunities to improve day-to-day operations of the Service and Parts departments, while also improving the customer experience.   The highest ROI current opportunity is to use data from the vehicle to determine when maintenance and service events need to be scheduled. The vehicle “knows” what its mileage is, when it needs an oil change, and when it has diagnostic codes that indicate different needs for service. Customer outreach using this vehicle data is much more timely and often more effective than outreach based on customer behavior modeling or “estimated” mileages.   A connected car can also facilitate advanced planning. By checking periodically on maintenance needs, dealers can anticipate approximately when a customer will need maintenance. The dealer can then plan ahead to schedule service at a time that is both convenient to the customer and efficient for the dealer, smoothing out service operations as well as monthly top and bottom lines.    Finally, an advanced review of a vehicle’s maintenance and service needs can facilitate advanced ordering and stocking of parts to ensure that they are available when the vehicle is scheduled for service. In short, dealers can more efficiently utilize their personnel and operations, while providing more reliable and convenient services for customers. Several OEMs now include automated maintenance reminders within their Mobile Owner Apps, and similar service reminder programs are offered as well. These types of programs have been shown to increase both customer service satisfaction and retention. The dealer plays a critical role in ensuring that all new vehicle purchasers have their Mobile Owner Apps activated during delivery, along with enrollment in automated maintenance reminders. If your OEM has not yet enabled these services, or for older vehicles, dealers should also look into third-party platforms, which not only offer service reminders, but also theft recovery, emergency assistance, and other services. 2. Advanced Service and Parts Opportunities Connected Car technologies will allow more advanced capabilities, too. We have already seen extensive use of Over-the-Air software updates by Tesla, but Tesla is not alone in adding OTA capabilities. Every major OEM is working to expand their abilities to update major vehicle systems this way, as well as how to share these responsibilities with their dealers. Tesla and others have also shown the potential for additional revenue from software-based “accessories” and feature subscriptions. These are optional software enhancements that allow the vehicle to be customized versus a base factory configuration. OEM Service and Parts departments will soon be able to recommend and deliver these accessories to an increasing number of vehicle owners. OEMs are also increasingly developing more predictive service algorithms. These programs process data from large numbers of vehicles to develop models that can accurately predict service problems before they occur. As confidence in these programs increases, dealers will be encouraged to contact customers to schedule service well before a breakdown occurs. Finally, Connected Car technologies will enable many new remote services. It is easy to locate vehicles and to provide digital keys to give access to an authorized technician. This will facilitate both services at the customer’s location as well as easy pick-ups and exchanges with courtesy transportation vehicles. The Connected Car will bring dramatic changes and opportunities to all parts of the modern dealership!
With Connectivity, Dealers Can Get More from Courtesy Transportation Programs

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Most dealers have Courtesy Transportation, or CTP programs in place, with the support of their respective manufacturers. What dealers may not be aware of though, is that these programs are increasingly using Connected Car technology to track and manage the vehicles enrolled in them. Not only does this new technology create opportunities for better fleet management, but it also has the potential to create some exciting new revenue opportunities for dealers in the very near future. The same platform used to operate CTP can be used by dealers to operate Rental programs, Alternative Financing programs, or Demonstrations. Connected CTP Programs Manufacturers are increasingly equipping new vehicles with built-in telematics equipment. In 2021, over 90% of all new vehicles will be equipped this way. Fleet owners have long recognized the value of built-in connections for fleet management applications. Fleets can more accurately track vehicle location, maintenance needs, mileage, and driver behavior data using a built-in connection and centralized fleet management. Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly bringing connected fleet management tools to their CTP to let dealers more closely manage these fleets as well. These programs, operated by companies like  TSD Loaner ,  Connexion Telematics ,  Bluebird Auto Rental Systems , and  ARSLoaner , all enable Dealers to more closely manage CTP vehicles. Dealers can easily enroll vehicles from their inventory into these systems and then track which ones are rented out, how many miles have been driven, how much fuel is being used, and whether any of the vehicles need maintenance. In the event that one of the vehicles goes missing, it can also be located. To get the most out of Connected CTP, dealers should take full advantage of available reporting, such as: Mileage alerts to prevent vehicles from being used past OEM program mileage limits Fuel Usage, to recoup fuel costs Rental History, to identify which vehicles are over-and under-used Over-Time alerts, to identify vehicles that have been kept longer than planned Tolling Alerts, to recoup toll costs Some programs also include remote lock/unlock commands, giving the dealer the ability to easily help if a CTP customer gets locked out. Taken together, dealers can use these tools to significantly improve the efficiency of their CTP.   New Revenue Opportunities While Connected CTP can be useful in managing costs today, they can also create a platform for dealers to easily try out new revenue models. Technically, any connected vehicle on the dealer's lot – new or used – can be activated and managed from the same platform that is used to manage CTP. That creates some interesting possibilities, such as: Short-Term Rentals Any connected vehicle on the dealer's lot could be enrolled and offered as a short-term rental. The CTP platform could easily bill the rental customer for time, mileage, fuel used, tolls, etc., at a rate negotiated by the dealer. Rentals could be for use by individuals or businesses or could be offered to Uber or Lyft drivers. Dealers should seek information & guidance from their providers & OEM partners. Some of the providers mentioned above already offer integrations that can result in immediate revenue opportunities.  Alternative Financing Models The same CTP platform could also allow the dealer to experiment with alternative financing models, such as subscriptions or "loan to own." The platform can easily track vehicle usage, apply a metered price by day, month, or by mileage, and can apply additional charges for fuel, tolls, and maintenance. In the event vehicles need to be recovered, they can also be located. The platform built to enable a Connected CTP can easily be adapted to operate these programs, as well. Demonstration Programs The dealer's CTP platform can also be used to offer vehicles for demonstration. With the roll-out of Electric Vehicles, for example, many customers may want to have a trial of an EV before committing to an all-new method of propulsion. Any other vehicle on the dealer's lot can also be offered this way, with mileage and usage easily monitored for follow-up with the customer. These new applications are not yet widely deployed to dealers, but dealers should be aware of the potential of Connected CTP and press their manufacturer sponsors and platform providers to bring these capabilities forward.