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HR Owen signs with Experian

HR Owen is the first dealer group to sign up to Experian's new online consumer information service, which is launched next month.

Prospect Locator – www.prospectlocator.com – has been adapted for the automotive sector, targeting larger franchised dealers and groups, from a similar database service Experian offers clients in other industries.

Dealers can access demographic and modelled data on 20m UK households.

Rob Whalley, managing director of Experian's Automotive Division, said: “We can dissect postcodes to show dealers where potential buyers live. Prospect Locator can help them to pick a location for a new showroom or make best use of a targeted promotional campaign.”

Data can be counted and analysed free of charge – payment is only required if it is downloaded. Lifestyle data costs £120 per thousand records and demographic £70, with phone numbers costing an extra £50.

Experian expects both new and used car sales to be less buoyant at the start of next year as the industry “talks itself into a recession”.

Company car sales, which have faded slightly this year, would “come under the spotlight” due to the new tax rules from April, said Mr Whalley.

“It will be a year of dawning for company car drivers – most are not attuned to the new tax system,” he added.

“With average contracts of three years, many drivers are mid-term so won't be able to make a decision, but the new system will slowly change the profile of vehicles sold with fuel efficient models becoming more popular.”

Experian, which counts franchised dealers, finance companies, manufacturers and auction houses as its key customers, has released details of Stock Monitor, which it says will “revolutionise” the auditing process.

The handheld system enables dealers to check a vehicle's history within minutes, while also progressing a finance application.

Mr Whalley said: “Stock Monitor will facilitate finance companies and dealers by giving them greater accuracy in appraising stock. They can save time and money and minimise risk and combat fraud.

GE Capital Woodchester is the first finance company to sign up.

Experian has identified new opportunities for expansion through Car Data Check.

The service, extended to the HPI-dominated consumer market last year in a venture with the AA, has been integrated with the Autoglass parts database to speed up glass replacement and minimise errors.

“Autoglass call centre staff now require only the registration number to identify the right part,” said Mr Whalley.

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