Technology based customer management will
be the very core of a dealership’s operations around which everything else will
revolve. This is the key finding of a study into the use of IT by car dealerships
commissioned by professional services firm, Deloitte & Touche.

Author of the study – entitled Model IT –
and partner in charge of the Deloitte & Touche Automotive Group, David Fletcher said:
“Dealers who have seen how information technology can be used to their benefit and
how it can give them control over their enterprise have seen how IT actually allows them
to grow their business”.

However, the study did show that many have
yet to fully embrace the age of technology – and with good reason.

“Not all IT solutions have been of the
highest quality nor of the best value. Furthermore there has been a consistent record of
inadequacies in the support from the vendors and the manufacturers, matched by a lack of
training opportunities at the dealerships, resulting in disillusionment and disenchantment
with new technology. Too many dealers are only familiar with the problems that surround IT
and have been unwilling or unable to see its merits,” said Mr Fletcher.

The study also highlighted that dealers who
have accepted the fundamental importance of IT to the survival and future of their
business recognise that expenditure on IT is a real investment in their business.

“But cost is not the only
consideration. To get the most from their IT dealers must also recognise that systems
specification and support, staff training and optimal use of their systems to manage
customer information are vital ingredients for success. Simply purchasing the software is
not a solution in its own right,” commented Mr Fletcher.

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“For most dealers IT brings with it
both challenges and opportunities. In the fast moving world of the internet and E-commerce
it is unrealistic to foresee a future for car dealerships that does not depend on IT.
Dealers not only need to embrace IT as part of their business function, but should
recognise it as key to the way their business must evolve in the future,” concluded
Mr Fletcher.

For a copy of Model IT please contact:
Claire Wood on 0121 695 5659 or email at

For further information please contact
Cathryn Tucker in National Communications on 0171 303 5048 or David Fletcher on 0121 695


Study Methodology

The research for Model IT was undertaken
between May and July 1999. Twenty one in-depth interviews of one hour each were held with
dealer principals, business managers, finance and IT managers drawn from:

  • 7 large dealer groups;
  • 3 manufacturer owned dealers and
  • 4 independent dealers.

In addition, in the same period, four
in-depth interviews of one hour each were held with the dealer network liaison managers of
four manufacturers and two customer group sessions were conducted, one composed of
internet users and one of non-internet users.

The dealer groups and manufacturers
selected for the sample were arrived at with the assistance of Kalamazoo International plc
who also assisted us in devising the specification of the qualitative interview agendas.
The objective in the selection procedure was to obtain, for dealers, as wide a spread as
possible in terms of size, geographic location and marques dealt with and, for
manufacturers, a mix of marque types.

Deloitte & Touche has a well
established reputation within the automotive industry for providing high quality
specialist advice to vehicle and component manufacturers, vehicle distribution and
retailing businesses and motor finance companies. The Deloitte & Touche Automotive
Group brings together a wide range of consultants and professional advisers with
specialist knowledge of the automotive industry.

For further information on Deloitte &
Touche, you can access our website on