Buying a used car, but unsure of its history, legitimacy or value? An innovative mobile app developed by Business Connexion and vehicle intelligence company TransUnion Auto Information Solutions makes it much easier to get the right answers.
Currently available only to the motor dealer market, the app provides subscribed dealers with practically instant information, which goes beyond the provision of market trade and retail values, about specific passenger and commercial vehicles as well as motorbikes, giving them the information they need to make an informed buying or selling decision anytime, anywhere.
“With access to converged valuation and verification reports, which includes the accident claim, mileage and finance history of a specific vehicle, dealers will find it far easier and convenient to make the right decisions about which vehicles to take in to stock, and now much to pay for them,” says TransUnion Auto CEO Mike von Höne.
Matthew Cook, Application Development Manager at Business Connexion’s Professional Services division, says the app, which runs on all major mobile platforms, is effectively an information aggregator. “The app retrieves data stored on a number of remotely located databases, which are used by TransUnion Auto for its Vehicle Verifications (HPI reports) and Valuations. That data is then pulled together and presented to subscribers, giving them essential information that will influence their decision about the transaction. It effectively allows them to make better, more informed buying and selling decisions.”
This announcement comes on the heels of our Professional Services division being recognised by South Africa’s leading research firm, BMI-TechKnowledge, as the market leader in application development, with 20% market share. According to BMI-T’s South African IT Services Marketing Sizing and Forecast 2010 – 2015 report (December 2011), our Professional Services division has a 20% market share.
TransUnion AIS produces the Auto Dealer’s Guide that reflects the market retail and trade values for every make and model of vehicle in South Africa. These prices are used by dealers to guide buying and selling decisions as well as by vehicle financiers and insurers.
TransUnion Auto also produces a Vehicle Verification product (previously known as the HPI report) that confirms the vehicle’s pedigree - its manufacturer data, finance history, micro dotting data, accident claim history, legal status, and mileage data etc.
The new app, now converges both the market retail and trade values of each vehicle in South Africa, on the one hand, and the verification details of each such vehicle, on the other, enabling dealers to obtain valuations on a specific vehicle with its individual history rather than a generic price for all vehicles of the same vintage.
“In addition, the Vehicle Evaluation report provides red, amber and green ratings on the accident claim history, mileage and legal status. Dealers can then choose to request the full report, which is sent to a smartphone or to an e-mail address. These features make the the solution more intuitive and more user friendly even for inexperienced users,” explains Cook. Importantly, dealers can obtain all this information simply by inputting the vehicle’s registration number. Until now, Vehicle Verification reports were based on the vehicle’s VIN and engine numbers.
“The word ‘revolution’ is often used when describing the emergence of ever-more useful and convenient apps for smartphones. This one is no different,” Cook continues. “It will change the dynamics of the used vehicle industry in South Africa by giving dealers the information they require when they need it, regardless of where they are – on the shop floor, at an auction or at their customers’ premises. They no longer have to call the TransUnion call centre, get back to their office to go online or make manual calculations using the tables in the back of the Auto Dealer’s Guide book.”
What’s more, there is good news for consumers wanting peace of mind when purchasing a used vehicle. While the app is initially being rolled out to auto dealers around the country, it will be made available to consumers later in the year. “This will put the power of information into the hands of the consumer; a more informed buyer is always positioned to make better purchasing decisions,” von Höne says.
Beyond empowering dealers and consumers, von Höne says the app could help reduce trade in stolen and other “hot” vehicles. “Business Against Crime estimates that some 40% of stolen and hijacked vehicles find their way back into the market. A tool, such as the app, which makes it easy for dealers and consumers to check the vehicle’s pedigree before it is re-legitimised, could help reduce vehicle crime.”
Cook says the app again demonstrates the power of accurate, detailed and easily accessible information. “Smartphones are changing the way we can access and contextualise information to improve our lives. Creating this app will potentially change a market that has an impact on a great many South Africans – something Business Connexion is proud to be a part of. It also sets the stage for the introduction of further similar apps in other industries, such as property, where access to accurate information has a material impact on price.”