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University students develop car dealer tech solutions for CDK competition

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University students have developed technology solutions to solve day-to-day operational issues for car retailers as part of the CDK Global 'Dealer Tech Competition'.

Students from universities in Bath, Exeter, Buckingham, Warwick, Surrey, and Southampton are among those that have completed the proposal phase of the ompetition, with 18 successful entries from the six participating universities.

The 'Dealer Tech – University Automotive Technology Competition', launched in 2020 to introduce students to the automotive retail sector, with the promise of a £13,000 prize fund helping to motivate their efforts.

For the proposal phase, students were tasked with developing a technology product idea to help car dealers improve their offerings in today’s digitised world, responding to the impact of COVID-19 and consumer demands.

CDK Global said the 18 teams have targeted a variety of industry challenges with their entries, ranging from how dealers engage with customers, understanding customer behaviour and personalisation to increasing efficiencies throughout the buying and ownership journey.

Many of the proposed solutions take inspiration from successful innovations in other industries such as retail and have adapted them to fit the automotive setting, said CDK Global, with data collection, real-time updates and personalisation key features in most entries.

Joaquim Croca, vice president, commercial at CDK Global said: “We have seen such a high standard of entries in this first phase of the Dealer Tech competition and we cannot wait to see how these ideas develop further throughout the next four months.

“It’s great to see young talent coming up with innovative ways to solve some of the biggest challenges we are facing as an industry, and the fact that this competition is bringing students together during what is a particularly difficult time for them makes it all the more worthwhile.

“We hope that the competition will continue to develop their creative, business and technical skills and perhaps even inspire them to pursue a career in the automotive sector.”

CDK Global was acquired by leading global investment firm, Francisco Partners in a deal worth $1.45 billion (£1.08bn).

The teams now progress to the idea development phase of the competition with the teams asked to present in their university finals in April 2021, before a national final in May 2021.

The judging requires a 15-minute presentation from each team, which can include a product demo, with judges including the CDK Global senior leadership team, Tim Rose, editor of AM and Julia Muir, CEO of Gaia Innovation.

The winning team will be awarded the prize of £10,000, with the winning team from each university also receiving £3,000.

Learn more about the competition on the CDK Global website.

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