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New cars: Innovative technology boosts dealer profits

“These efficiency technologies can show dealers to be passing on genuine money-saving options to the customer in addition to other add-ons and upgrades,” he said.

Officials at Toyota GB are delighted with the showroom impact of Touch & Go - the multimedia system with the ability to perform Google local searches and send Google directions to the car from the comfort of an armchair – that was introduced to the B segment last year with the Verso S and Yaris models.

“This offers something different in the segment. We’re finding it appeals to technology-aware customers and it is being used as a conquest tool by our retail network.

“It is intuitive to use, reasonably priced and features the added benefit of a rear reversing camera – an item our research has identified as one of the most popular features to fit on our cars,” a spokesman said.

Significantly, analysis of sales data reveals that 50% of Yaris buyers are choosing to equip their car with Touch & Go, an option that costs £500 plus VAT.

“When we launched the car, our dealers introduced a demonstration of the system into the points to be covered during the test drive, so Touch & Go forms an integral part of the sales process. Feedback from sales staff has been positive.

“It has provided the opportunity to upsell within the Yaris range and also upsell the navigation features – but importantly, it is used to conquest customers because the technology appeals to a wide range of buyers and we’re highlighting this shift in focus in our advertising. Our dealers are also selling the benefits of free map upgrades over three years at the time of purchase.

“Apart from the reversing camera, we’re finding that customers like the fact that the system shows whether ATMs are located at shops and is also able to display pictures of destinations and phone numbers,” said the spokesman.

High-tech options

Advanced technology has become a major marketing tool at Ford, which has made its medium car range available with front-facing cameras to provide a high-tech package that includes a low-speed safety system, lane keeping, traffic sign recognition, driver alert and auto high beam.

Together with blind spot alert, the package costs £750. In addition, park assist will parallel park the car on Auto Pilot, a £350 option on the Focus and £525 on the C-Max.

On its small car range, the market leader is offering a rear view camera as a £450 option that includes parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers and will debut MyKey – a novelty that allows parents to set maximum speeds and audio volume when the car is driven by youngsters – on the Fiesta shortly.

Not surprisingly, Ford is happy that technology packages have already boosted residual values of the Mondeo, which can be specified with blind spot detection and lane departure warning as a £525 option.

CAP has increased RV forecasts by up to 3% and at 3yrs/60,000 miles, predicted value of the 2.0 TDCi Zetec has been raised by £525 to 32% .

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