Everything Dealers Need to Know About AI in the Automotive Industry

May 10, 2019 John Kehm

When the topic of “artificial intelligence in the automotive industry” comes up, most people probably have visions of autonomous vehicles humming through city streets, picking up and dropping off riders and cargo with no driver at the wheel. But while that vision still may be accurate in the future, there are plenty of other ways in which AI has been revolutionizing the auto industry for years, with more to come. In this blog post, automotiveMastermind discusses:

Automakers and Suppliers Embrace AI Early

Auto manufacturers and larger suppliers embraced AI relatively early in its commercial availability, recognizing its potential in processes that involved data mining, pattern recognition, problem solving, extrapolation and other functions at which AI excels. AI systems were quickly proving their worth in such areas as supply chain optimization, demand prediction and production planning, preventive maintenance management, consumer research and segmentation, warranty program oversight, manufacturing quality control and more.

On manufacturing shop floors, the rise of AI-enabled industrial robots and adaptive manufacturing is revolutionizing the process of making vehicles, especially when combined with machine learning-based quality control systems that use neural networks to constantly improve their ability to identify defects.

AI Integration in Dealerships

But while OEMs and their supply chains have been transforming key functions through AI for some time, it’s only recently that dealers are following suit. And as with virtually every other industry and within other automotive segments, dealers who are ahead of the curve in AI integration are seeing real bottom-line results that deliver a meaningful advantage over their competitors.

To understand what this looks like, consider a standard new customer lifecycle and how AI revolutionizes it.

It starts long before a customer ever walks in the door, when data mining tools dig into public and proprietary data sets about all the potential customers in a given marketplace – not just those who fit a traditional demographic – and use a scoring system to identify the best prospects and the appropriate products for them.

Instead of advertising and direct mail based on broad demographics, AI-powered dealer marketing campaigns are highly individualized and targeted, personalized to appeal to the specific factors that were pulled out of the data and brought that prospect to the front of the line.

There’s far more to AI-driven marketing personalization than a mail merge making sure the prospect’s name is added to the offer. Rather, these tools allow dealers to automate the delivery of the right message, to the right person, at the right time, with an offer unique to them.

Often, these systems are so effective they identify and engage potential customers who haven’t even realized they’re in the market for a new vehicle, just as the AI-powered predictive systems at Amazon or Netflix are able to present you with products or movies you didn’t know you wanted – yet.

Applications of AI in Dealers That Help to Close Deals

Once the customer is in the door, AI systems support dealer sales teams by providing them with simple and relevant digests of what those systems have learned about the customer, what the interactions have been like, what they can likely afford and what talking points will have the most impact. With access to credit report databases, the systems can even generate proposed deal structures that take a customer’s own finances into account.

Once the sale is made, dealership AI systems generate value for service departments by managing maintenance programs and integrating relationship marketing to improve customer experience (CX) and increase dealership loyalty. These tools also help turn service drives into high-powered conquest tools by applying much of the same data mining and sales potential scoring to service-only customers and arming sales teams with the tools to engage service customers with personalized offers when appropriate.

We don’t know exactly what the future of AI-powered automobiles will look like, but there’s no denying that the AI-powered auto industry – or auto dealership – is running smoother than ever before.

Interested in learning how to implement an AI-powered sales platform at your dealership? Contact us today for a consultation.

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