“The police are here saying one of our cars was reported stolen.” Those are words you never want to hear, and without fleet tracking, they could be the start to an expensive story.
For Christene Tornello, Regional Service Director for QVale Auto Group, there was definitely a moment of stress before experience kicked in. When her team at Maserati Alfa Romeo of St. Petersburg called to share the bad news, Tornello said she pulled off the road and logged into Dealerware from her car.
“I zoomed in on the map and told my team ‘The car has been parked since 3:30 this morning, and here’s the address.’,” Tornello said.
“Since Dealerware links with Google Images, I could also give them landmarks, like what color the houses nearby were. That was probably 9:30 in the morning, and by 1 o’ clock the car was being towed back to us,” she said.
Tornello said she was grateful that the thief left the key in the car, at least. Unfortunately, they also damaged a wheel and blew a tire before abandoning the vehicle. So, she walked her team through collecting the customer’s insurance deductible through Dealerware as the first step in dealing with repairs.
It’s a no-brainer, Tornello said, to put trackers in your cars. In this case, the investment in Dealerware Connected Car Services saved Tornello and her team from writing off the roughly $50,000 sticker price on their stolen Alfo Romeo Stelvio. But a connected fleet with GPS tracking saves dealers money and time in other ways, too.
Fleet tracking: worth it for any size fleet
Knowing where your cars are has plenty of other benefits on top of preventing big one-time losses from theft. Just saving time around your facility or having certainty about the status of your fleet makes fleet tracking worth it, Tornello said.
“Even if you have a large facility and a relatively small fleet. If you don’t know where cars are on the lot, or you’re wondering if cars are on the lot, it totally helps out.”
“It’s not a ‘recovery’ in a traditional sense,” Tornello shared, “but I even had a loaner vehicle lost, we were searching for it and found it at another dealership — a customer had dropped it off at the wrong dealer!”
Dealerware gives time back in other ways, too, particularly by saving service advisers time opening and closing contracts. When things get chaotic for the fixed ops team, Dealerware does the work of verifying fuel and collecting money for you, Tornello said. And it gives you the flexibility to customize charges for costs you need to recover from your fleet.
“I like the fact that I can go in there and change the settings for how much I want to charge per gallon, cleaning fees, service fees, it’s wonderful,” she said.
“I know [Connected Car Services] is an added expense, but it’s an investment. And I think the return on investment far outweighs anything else out there.”