You might call Volkswagen and Audi dealers star pupils.
VW and Audi dealers are the first to use a new set of technology standards for their Web-based portals that streamlines the exchange of information with franchises other than VW and Audi.
That is especially important for dealers who own stores that sell multiple brands and have been unable to exchange information quickly or easily with the various factories.
Volkswagen of America was scheduled to describe how dealers adopted the standards, called STAR - short for Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail - at a press conference at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention on Saturday, Jan. 31.
STAR is an industry initiative to create voluntary information technology standards governing how manufacturers and dealers communicate. The goal is lower costs, more accurate and timely data and higher customer satisfaction.
VW's new system replaces the proprietary satellite broadcast system that VWoA used to communicate with its VW and Audi dealers.
Dealers began using the portals - vwhub.com and accessaudi.com - last year to order vehicles, submit warranty claims and execute all other business communications between dealers and automakers, says Gerald Schunder, manager of dealer integrations at VWoA.
"It is the site to which every dealer employee that needs to interact with us will go," he says.
The applications that dealers use, such as ordering inventory, were loaded onto the new Web-based system in October.
But the work is not done. Now VWoA wants to integrate its dealer communication system with the dealer management systems that each dealer uses for accounting and other daily business functions.
VWoA is working with more than a dozen vendors, including ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds, to integrate its new communications system with a variety of dealer management systems.