Curry Honda also uses the system to contact service customers, a huge potential sales market because there are about nine Honda dealers within 20 miles of the store, Finch says.
Prospect Vision systems are in about 200 dealerships nationwide, says Allen Levenson, vice president of sales and marketing. The system costs $500 to $800 a month depending on the size of a store and sales volume, plus less than $1 for each piece of customized mail generated.
Lehigh Valley Acura and Lehigh Valley Honda, part of the Vinart family of dealerships near Allentown, Pa., have used Xtream Service software since June 2010 to identify lease and finance customers eligible to trade up into similar new vehicles while keeping their payments the same or less with no money down.
"It's an apples-to-apples comparison,' says Andy Wright, vice president at the Vinart dealerships. He attributes an average 15 percent of the stores' new-car sales to Xtream, from HCD Software of Charlotte, N.C. Vinart's business development center sends marketing pieces created using Xtream templates.
Other products that dealers use to identify customers eligible to exit their leases or loans early include DealActivator from Intelligent Marketing Systems of Tampa, Fla. More than 400 dealers subscribe to DealActivator, which creates data lists and conducts first-class mail, e-mail and phone campaigns. The average amount of time that lease and retail customers have their vehicles before buying a new vehicle through DealActivator is just 31 months, says Alan Andreu, Intelligent Marketing Systems founder and general manager. Most dealers also see DealActivator as a way to boost used-vehicle inventory, he adds.
GoldDigger 2.0 software from eLEAD CRM of Valdosta, Ga., has about 3,000 dealer users, and 90 percent of them choose to have eLEAD's call center contact customers, says eLEAD owner Hugh Hathcock.
Equity Calculator, an add-on to Reynolds & Reynolds' ERA dealership management system, also helps dealers identify customers with enough equity to buy again. It has led to an overall 5 to 6 percent increase in vehicles sold, and those who purchase the product tend to stick with it, the company says.
In the early 2000s, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, a Newport Beach, Calif., Mercedes-Benz store, was so impressed by a tool a sales consultant was developing to identify customers who could exit leases early that it prepaid monthly fees for a few years to help launch the business, says store general manager Garth Blumenthal. The store now uses an expanded version of the tool, AutoAlert, with retail customers, too. Blumenthal says AutoAlert, whose service and mileage alert functions also identify potential buyers, helps his store sell 30 to 50 more cars a month.
Newport Lexus of Newport Beach, Calif., has used AutoAlert for about a year to identify customers with equity in their vehicles. "It's extremely effective," says Allen Moznett, the store's general manager.