Arkona is an American DMS supplier which launched in 1999. A niche player, it has around 750 dealer contracts in the USA, but is growing rapidly, at around 20 dealerships per month. Now it plans an assault on the UK market.
The company has set up a joint venture with a UK company, as yet unnamed. This UK business is, according to Arkona president Richard Holland, a “well known name” to dealers.
“We were invited to come to the UK by our partner. We will provide back-up support but our partner will sell the product,” Holland says.
“They are well-known and have relationships with many dealerships already.”
The Arkona DMS has been trialled at a few UK dealers for the past two months and will officially launch at the end of February when Arkona will reveal its venture partner’s name. Holland says it will compete strongly on price.
“We are 40-50% cheaper than our rivals. And we have no long-term contracts – everything is agreed month-by-month,” he adds.
Though a modular web-based product, the basic Arkona platform includes many of the functions that are additional costs on other DMS, according to Holland.
He claims other systems are based on accountancy-type products, whereas Arkona began with a customer-centric approach.
“We shadowed dealerships to find out their issues. So we are much more front-office facing,” he says.
Holland’s UK target is growth similar to the US. “We have 2-3% of the US market but we are growing by 30% a year. We have comparable ambitions in the UK.”
At this month’s NADA convention in Las Vegas, Arkona released details of its new web-based Reflections product which links into its DMS. Reflections is a document and image management solution which stores information in secure data files. Documents can be accessed, printed and faxed from any workstation in the dealership or accessed remotely.
“Our Reflections product offers improved data security and a superior process for storing, accessing, transmitting and printing data,” says Holland.