The EDS Automotive Retail Group has begun offering its centrally hosted dealer management system to all U.S. franchised dealers, expanding on what the company is doing with 446 U.S. Saturn dealers.
EDS is moving Saturn dealers from the traditional dealer management system, in which dealers own their own computer systems, to an EDS-hosted application service provider model.
Small dealerships could save as much as $47,200 over five years because of the change, according to an EDS study.
The dealer who chooses the outsourcing option still uses the same sales, service, parts and accounting applications but doesn't have to own or maintain a server.
The first Saturn stores will begin using the dealer management system hosted by EDS in late April or early May, says Matt Parsons, vice president of marketing at the EDS Automotive Retail Group in Troy, Mich.
Saturn dealers have about 8,500 users who will use applications, which run off of one IBM AS/400 mid-range server in the EDS data center.
EDS unveiled its hosted dealer management system in February during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.
Dealers who choose the system will pay a monthly fee for each computer terminal. EDS offered an introductory price of $99 per terminal at the NADA exposition.
The market is ripe for the application service provider model because of the trust that dealers have in the remote computing environment, says Karen Blunden, president of the EDS Automotive Retail Group.
Says Blunden: "We are now trusting the Internet, and we're trusting the security of networks and the like, and I'm not sure we were there a number of years ago."