The Evolution system, used by 18 dealers in mainland Europe and three in the UK, has “contributed to the financial strain” on Kalamazoo, according to chairman Bob Brockman. He says the company, acquired this year by US giant UCS, would end investment in Evolution and focus on supporting a dealer management system (DMS) developed by its new parent. Kalamazoo will support three systems in the UK: Darts (150 users, mostly Ford dealers), KDMS (331 users) and Elite (413 users).
Mike Farley, UK marketing and business development director of Kalamazoo, says: “We will be investing in these products with the backing of UCS.”
The company recently lost some business to Pinewood Computer Systems, which has signed up four Ford dealers to its Cars product, breaking the traditional blue oval domination of Kalamazoo and rival Kerridge.
Neville Briggs, Pinewood managing director, claims Kalamazoo is putting pressure on Darts users to pay for developments upfront. He believes support for the product might stop. “Investment on Darts will be money down the drain because it is outdated technology,” says Briggs. “That's why Kalamazoo is asking dealers to pay for upgrades in advance.”
Farley refutes the claims as “speculative and uninformed comment” and insists the Darts system, used by around 70 Ford dealers, would be developed.