Dealerships Reopening – The Test Drive Has Changed

COVID-19 has forever altered how humans do business of every variety. Auto dealerships are not immune to this change. COVID-19 has proven to be the catalyst to the often proclaimed coming of tech based and online Auto retailing. 

Sales are way down, yet the method of sales is evolving. There is nothing new about technology’s growth as a tool for research and shopping for cars, however, physical test drives have always been one item that experts agree must still take precedence as key to any successful sale.

Although social distancing restrictions are slowly loosening, much of the regimen will likely stick around for some time, if not, forever. People will likely choose to keep a healthy distance from strangers, if given the choice. This makes the traditional version of the test drive unattractive, where two strangers’ position themselves next to each other in the front seats of a car.

Dealers are actively seeking techniques to solve this problem. Portable magnetic real-time GPS tracking modules integrated with mobile mapping and reporting software offer a new solution.

“As a direct result of changes brought on from the COVID crisis, dealers are actively reaching out to learn how Trackem can help keep test drives a safe and desirable option,” says Vince Poloniato, President at Trackem. “We understand how important the test drive is to the eventual successful sale of a vehicle, which is why we have customized a GPS service offering specifically for this purpose.”

Trackem GPS has developed a solution for dealers - ‘Trackem Test Driver’ - to allow for customers to perform test drives alone, without a sales rep onboard. A sales rep can be issued a magnetic tracker and access to the mapping app. This allows them to easily install the hardware into any vehicle to be test driven and monitor it while the customer is actively driving. Each rep can be assigned their own magnetic tracker to use and be responsible for.

The system provides the ability to know the vehicles real-time location, the route, speed of travel, stop times, and exactly when it leaves and returns to the lot.  The rep can specify a local route and time limit for the test drive and know by text or email notification of any irregularities.  Notifications can be instantly sent for any excess speed, harsh driving, leaving predefined areas or prolonged stop times.

In essence, having this data is almost as good as being on the test drive with the client. In fact, paired with Bluetooth speakers, the rep can communicate instructions and highlight vehicle features as the ride happens.

Reporting features available through the backend software enable management to remotely monitor sales action. Those set as administrators can access test drive reports on individual rides, test drives per rep, per day/week, fuel consumption, kilometers driven, and more.

Having real-time tracking in vehicles, with the clients knowledge of it, will certainly discourage any misuse. If not, the dealer will know the location and route for easy recovery by law enforcement. In fact, the units can be left in vehicles on off hours to protect in the event of lot theft.