Tracking down close to 8 million vehicles every year is a hassle for Manheim. Clicking a key fob to find a vehicle is impractical with 6,500 acres of physical auctions nationwide.
But Manheim's new tracking tool — Lot Vision — should expedite those searches and thus speed reconditioning and sales, the company said Friday. And U.S. retailers hoping to track their own inventory could also benefit.
The GPS-based wireless device plugs into a vehicle's onboard diagnostics port and can pinpoint a vehicle within a 10 feet, Manheim said. At lots the size of Manheim's, this can cut vehicle search time from hours to minutes.
For dealers, cars with Lot Vision can be found after inputting a work order number on a smartphone or tablet. Older vehicles without a port are tracked via sensors attached to the steering wheel.
Retailers Sonic Automotive Inc. and US Auto Sales are piloting Lot Vision at a few stores, Manheim said in a statement. Cox2M, a sibling of Cox Automotive-owned Manheim, collaborated with Manheim to produce the hardware. Cox2M will market Lot Vision directly to dealers. Eventually, Lot Vision may provide features such as real-time vehicle diagnostics, battery life assessment and fluid level checks.
The device also is in use at three Manheim locations and is expected to expand to other sites nationwide this year.