Wireless hand-held computers are the latest item in the automotive retailing tool box.
Consider the Laser Appraiser (laserappraiser.com). The device is a modified Intermec 700 series Pocket PC.
A vehicle's VIN bar code can be scanned into it to determine if the car has sustained flood damage or was in a wreck.
The device also lets the user call up price lists from Kelley Blue Book, Black Book, NADA used-car guides and Experian AutoCheck to obtain a vehicle's worth.
How long does it take? About 20 seconds.
The 3-inch-by-7-inch appraiser is small enough to be carried in a pocket. So the salesperson doesn't have to keep running between the sales lot and the office.
About 20 dealers have been testing the Laser Appraiser before its national rollout at next year's National Automobile Dealers Association (nada.org) convention in Orlando, Fla.
Dean Turpin, president of Laser Appraiser LLC, of Athens, Ga., says the device will cost about $2,995.