More dealerships are using artificial intelligence to digest and glean insights from inventory data.
Ford and Lincoln stores are next.
FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and its dealers to help stores with digital marketing, has endorsed a used-vehicle report tool that takes advantage of artificial intelligence. The tool comes from Vast, an Austin, Texas, company that pairs big data with AI for the automotive sector.
Vast has an artificial intelligence platform called CarStory that touches 15 million consumers a month. CarStory is fueled by a database built on millions of used vehicles and shopper insights.
Ford and Lincoln dealerships now have free access to Vast's CarStory Market Reports, which are housed on vehicle detail pages. The reports use artificial intelligence and analytics to automatically merchandise vehicles on dealership sites.
The market reports, designed to keep online shoppers from leaving dealership sites, provide details about the condition of vehicles along with how pricing measures up against market averages. The reports also lay out features, safety ratings, owner history according to Carfax and other information to help sell the vehicle.
Chad Bockius, Vast's chief product officer, said dealership sites are like store lots. If consumers can't find the information they're seeking on the vehicle detail page, he said, they may head to another site and never return.
CarStory Market Reports were launched around three years ago and are used by more than 10,000 franchised and independent dealerships. Other CarStory clients include Volkswagen and Hyundai.
Bockius said the reports use analytics to uncover what makes each used car unique, and then positions it in "the best light to help sell the car."
"We're in a fortunate spot to see supply across the country, demand across the country and then use our analytics and AI to make sense of all those signals and help tell that car's unique story in a way that engages consumers and makes them want to buy," Bockius told Automotive News.
In September, Vast launched an inventory management app, CarStory Insights, that uses predictive analytics to determine how long used vehicles will remain on the lot. The technology gives dealerships windows during which it expects vehicles to sell based on various factors. It also takes into account consumer demand in local markets, and can rank vehicles by when the app predicts they will sell.
Harry Haber, used-car manager for Capistrano Mazda and Capistrano Volkswagen in Southern California, uses the Insights app and is impressed.
"The machine is looking at all this data and saying, 'Hey, this is probably want you want to look at.' It's a game changer."