Today’s headlines proclaim a rapid rise in carjacking and skyrocketing vehicle thefts off dealership lots. Both are great reasons to add anti-theft systems to new and pre-owned vehicles, but Spireon just provided a few more.
Spireon, known as the Vehicle Intelligence Company, acquired the popular stolen vehicle recovery system, LoJack, in March, after LoJack announced plans to shutter its U.S. business. Next, Spireon updated the technology platform and rebranded its franchise dealer solution from Kahu to LoJack.
The relaunch expands the LoJack offering to deliver proven lot management and service retention tools to dealerships, connected car features to consumers, and to bring LoJack stolen vehicle recovery coverage to both through Spireon’s strong GPS and cellular networks.
Brian Skutta, president of automotive at Spireon, notes the brand redesign and technology rollout resonates with dealers. “The market was excited to see someone come in and steward the popular LoJack brand, which has a great reputation with dealers and c consumers,” he says. “We combined the expanded reach of GPS in locating cars with LoJack’s already deep law enforcement relationships and strong name recognition for a best-in-class solution.”
Stolen Vehicle Recovery
The revamped platform has already seen vehicle recovery success. It helped the Chapman BMW dealership in Phoenix, Arizona, recover a 2021 BMW M8 despite it crossing the border before the dealer noticed it missing.
When discovered in Mexico, the dealer worried the $126,000 vehicle would be a total loss. But by using GPS location coverage and leveraging LoJack law enforcement liaisons, Spireon partnered with law enforcement on both sides of the border to recover the vehicle without damage.
The platform’s theft benefit is available to dealers who install the systems on their vehicles. The benefit reimburses dealers up to $10,000 if the company cannot recover a vehicle within 30 days. This benefit transfers to consumers when they purchase a multi-year LoJack plan.
“If we don’t find the vehicle in 30 days, we reimburse the consumer up to $10,000,” Skutta says. “It’s a nice feature but we have a strong recovery rate. LoJack had a 90% recovery rate and Kahu a 98% rate.
Skutta stresses the system’s recovery capability is but a small part of its total offerings.
“We now have a much broader value proposition for dealers,” he explains. “There are four main areas in which the new platform provides value: stolen vehicle recovery, lot management, F&I sales, and service after the sale.”
By installing the expanded LoJack system on vehicle inventory, salespeople can find vehicles quicker for test drives, and gain visibility into battery level and inventory age. “They have complete visibility into their assets from an asset management and risk perspective,” Skutta says.
Sellers also can use the technology to speed up the sales process and to enhance F&I sales. Customers no longer wait for sellers to locate vehicles or charge batteries before test drives. “And, as they use the technology, sellers introduce it to customers,” he says. “They give the customer a connected car experience which helps them sell the solution in F&I.”
The app, which has hundreds of thousands of active subscribers and over 18,000 reviews and has received a 4.8-star rating from consumers, allows LoJack customers to use connected car technology to maintain vehicle health, locate their car and receive driving alerts. Consumers report that the most popular features include locating their car in a crowded parking lot, reviewing trip histories, setting speed alerts or geofence boundaries, and monitoring a teenager’s driving. Additionally, consumers can view their vehicle’s maintenance needs and history from their mobile phones.
Once customers purchase LoJack which includes the connected-car app, dealers can also use the tool to fill their service bays and grow long-term relationships with customers within the app’s MyDealer feature. This feature lets dealers dispatch automated service reminders to grow service retention.
“MyDealer is a dedicated piece of real estate in the consumer app that allows the dealer to communicate with the customer during their ownership of the vehicle,” he says.
The average customer purchases a vehicle and keeps it for three to five years. Dealers can market to consumers through the app over this ownership cycle. Dealers have found success in sending information on service specials, free oil changes, and service reminders.
Spireon incorporates automated maintenance schedules into the app. The company logs vehicle mileage when technicians install the devices. From that moment on, the device tracks mileage, driving habits and other data to make specific maintenance recommendations. The app monitors data collected by the LoJack system and notifies customers when it’s time to schedule service.
“This ensures we don’t send a 40,000-mile service notification to a customer who hasn’t hit 25,000 miles yet,” he says. “The app allows us to target notifications because we have real-time visibility into the mileage and driving history.”
In a recent study of 2,500 consumers, Spireon found that 52% of the time when consumers receive automated messages, they contact the dealership. Consumers can place a call directly through the app or click to schedule an appointment within the app.
“Our study also found that 70% of consumers scheduled service directly from the app,” he says.
Dealers interested in adding a LoJack program can reach out to Spireon directly at www.spireon.com or www.lojack.com. Spireon then walks dealers through the onboarding process.
Though it takes just 10 to 12 minutes to install the system on a vehicle, Spireon sends technicians to retrofit a dealer’s entire inventory. “While we retrofit their inventory, we teach their technicians how to install the device,” he says. “It’s efficient for dealers to do themselves once they’re trained and educated.”
Spireon also helps dealerships understand how to fit the system into their overall operation. Skutta says, “We work with the parts and service department to get the asset added to their vehicles. We then work with the sales team around utilization of the asset and around selling it. Then we work with F&I managers to add it to their menu and determine a pricing strategy.”
Later, Spireon provides ongoing support through an onsite account management team. “We will consult with dealers on their strategy and help them compare their efforts against the benchmarks of best-in-class dealers. We also have a virtual performance team that provides remote support,” he says.
More Advances Planned
Spireon plans further advancements, including adding a digital glove box. Customers will still receive a print copy of their service records, but those records will also exist within the LoJack app. “This will allow consumers to opt for paperless records,” he says.
Integrated service marketing will launch later this year, allowing dealers to create custom advertising campaigns. And a new third-party API feature will allow other industry providers to use the LoJack consumer app as a communications channel within their omnichannel strategy.
“This will allow us to partner with equity firms, marketing agencies and other third parties that market to consumers on the dealer’s behalf,” he says.
The LoJack relaunch is a win-win-win solution. The breadth and scale of the technology advancements brings more value to existing LoJack dealers while adding advanced stolen vehicle recovery capabilities to existing Spireon dealerships. The connected car platform keeps maintenance on track and offers features that improve the customer experience overall.