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 is scheduled to describe how dealers adopted the standards - called STAR, short for Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail - at a convention press conference at 10 a.m. today.
STAR is an industrywide initiative to create voluntary information technology standards for the way manufacturers and dealers communicate. The goals are lower costs, more accurate and timely data and higher customer satisfaction.
Dealers began using the portals - vwhub.com and accessaudi.com - late last year to order vehicles, submit warranty claims, and for 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. This system replaces the proprietary satellite broadcast system that VWoA used to communicate with its VW and Audi dealers.
By using STAR standards, VWoA provided dealers with a Web-based communications tool that they could use to communicate with franchises other than VW and Audi.
The applications that dealers use, such as ordering inventory, were loaded onto the new Web-based system in October.
VWoA is working with more than a dozen vendors, including ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds, to integrate the system with a variety of dealer management systems.
VWoA has commitments from 11 vendors in the United States and eight in Canada to provide system-to-system integration.