Telematics could transform the test drive experience for dealers, providing sales staff valuable information on the customer experience to help win sales.
As well as knowing exactly how the vehicle has been driven and the type of roads driven on, dealers will routinely be provided with comprehensive information says DCML.
While more automotive manufacturers and dealers promote test drive programmes and extended trials lasting 24 to 48 hours, feedback provided to dealers by drivers is often limited in scope and can be inaccurate, says the automotive software expert.
The use of telematics in demonstrator vehicles, however, will be commonplace by 2017.
Vince Powell (pictured), DCML managing director, said: “The vast majority of dealers still rank the test drive process as very important in securing a sale but often lack best practice advice for managing the process.
“A customer who tests a car is already more likely to make a purchase, so it is crucial to maximise the opportunity.
“With some brands rooted to just 20%, incorporating telematics is projected to boost conversion rates to over 40%.
Dealerships are already exploiting the new approach in conjunction with DCML. Initial reports show that staff are more empowered to close the deal when armed with knowledge of the customer’s usage during the test drive.
“It is very easy to hand over the keys to a customer and forget about them until they return.
“However, when a prospect borrows a car for a day or more, it is hugely beneficial to be able to discuss with them exactly how they’ve made use of the vehicle.
“Test drive programmes and extended trials represent a significant investment for dealers, by having a targeted conversation about how a certain vehicle might suit the customer’s lifestyle or meet their requirements, the dealer is better able to control the conversation and close the deal more easily. Dealers who adopt technology will undoubtedly boost test drive conversion rates; those who don’t will be left behind.”
“On top of that, there’s a huge benefit in terms of risk management through driver behaviour monitoring and knowing exactly where the vehicle is at all times. We are sure that, within just a couple of years, most franchised dealers will adopt this approach.”
As well as seeing a rise in dealers wanting to make the most of the test drive itself, DCML says demand for a more complete package, incorporating day rate insurance, telematics and software to help manage test drive logistics, is increasing.