|Would you like to improve inventory, expand into new markets, target advertising campaigns and gain insight into your competitors’ business? Reports generated by Experian Automotive’s AutoCount offer dealers specific information to do just that, but those results take time. If you know how to analyze the data in the reports, those results can be achieved by sifting through pages of information.|
If you subscribe monthly or place one-time orders as needed, plan on setting aside time to study the reports. It’ll be worth your time. You can spend five minutes reviewing them for the bird’s-eye view, but if you want to reap long-lasting benefits, you must devote time to review every page of a report. And the reports, depending on which one you request, can be 10 pages or 60+ pages long.
AutoCount offers a range of prepackaged reports that can be delivered to the dealer in a variety of formats. They offer information compiled from state DMV (or BMV) records. Some of the reports include:
Vehicle Geographic Analysis
Vehicle Registration Details
Zip Code Rankings by Volume
Vehicle Segment Analysis
Dealer Lender Summery
Dealer Vehicles by Year, Make and Model
Vehicle Year, Make and Model Rankings
You can receive these reports through the mail on paper,CD or diskette. If you have a specific report in mind, AutoCount will try to compile it from their data, offering a customized report offline. Reports can also be delivered to your e-mail inbox as PDFs, Excel spreadsheets or text files.
The gem of the service lies in the flexibility of IDrive, a report-generating Web application. It includes all of the preformatted reports above and more. On IDrive, dealers can run a preformatted report or generate a custom-made Trend Report. With the Trend Report, you select particular data filters so the report displays only the information you want to analyze, and this feature eliminates calls to request custom reports.
The ability to drill down to specific data creates a much shorter report, often consisting of only one page. If you subscribe to AutoCount on a monthly basis, unlimited use of IDrive is included at no cost, but a high-speed Internet connection is necessary for optimal results. This online service allows dealers to access all state data and build their specific reports in five minutes. The report pops up onscreen in the requested format and can be printed or saved to your computer.
Wilt Leak, dealer of the Magnolia Motor Company in Magnolia, Ark., has been a subscriber of AutoCount for over three years and has been using the IDrive application since August 2006. His only wish was that he had been introduced to IDrive earlier because of its convenience and quick turnaround time. “With the new IDrive system they’ve come out with, it’s a matter minutes to get what you need.”
For Leak, the flexibility of trend reports saves him time. He mainly uses IDrive to help stock his inventory with popular vehicles in his market and to see lender activity. “It’s just another tool to help run the business better.”
Lithia Motors Inc. is another AutoCount subscriber that utilizes the reports a bit differently. The corporate offices use the reports for acquisition purposes. They look for markets where specific vehicle makes and models are popular to help determine if certain geographic areas are right for a Lithia dealership. The company has been AutoCount and IDrive users for two years and counting.
AutoCount’s two main competitors are R.L. Polk and the Cross-Sell Report. The reports offered by all three include similar information, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same.
R.L. Polk’s list of preformatted reports is similar to AutoCount’s, but some reports are presented differently. For example, some of them include a 1-page Executive Summary that translates trends of the market, the competition and local zip codes into sentence-form. The remainder of the reports is comparable to AutoCount’s in structure and length. R.L. Polk is available in all states and has a product similar to IDrive called PolkInsight.
To dealers, the biggest difference between AutoCount and R.L. Polk is how the Web applications are offered. While, IDrive is included with a monthly AutoCount subscription, PolkInsight is offered as a stand-alone product separate from Polk’s preformatted reports.
One California dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, said reports he received from Polk were “data overkill.” He said, “It’s so much information, you have to be a mathematician. And I was a mathematician and have a master’s degree in mathematics, so I can tell you even with that, I think there’s so much information that it’s not even useful.” Even though this is a potential problem with all preformatted reports, Web applications like IDrive and PolkInsight offer flexibility so you can structure reports that are easier to analyze.
The Cross-Sell Report is available in fewer states, offers only six preformatted reports and has no service comparable to IDrive or PolkInsight. Cross-Sell will try to meet specific requests, but the Cross-Sell database isn’t as extensive as AutoCount’s or R.L. Polk’s.
After his R.L. Polk subscription expired, the anonymous California dealer signed up with Cross-Sell. He thought the Cross-Sell Report was easier to understand, but eventually, he unsubscribed because he didn’t need a report every month.The AutoCount Report appears to stand tall with its competitors thanks to IDrive. It’s especially flexible and offers quick turnaround times. However, the company remembers all dealers aren’t online and mails numerous reports every month. Whether you are looking to subscribe monthly or want to place a one-time order, AutoCount will try to accommodate your needs so you can compare your results to dealerships down the street and across the state. Just be prepared to invest time to analyze the data, so you can work your market to reap the most benefits.
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Vol 4, Issue 2
Black Book’s final depreciation report of 2018 finds prices for used cars and trucks decreased by 2.7% and 2.3%, respectively, with declines among compacts, minivans, and full-size utilities setting the pace.