Beyond the Pitch
iReconCars Brings New Technology to the Automotive Industry
iReconCars is a Columbus-based automotive technology company that automates the reconditioning process for car dealers.
Every step recorded on iReconCars is then consolidated into MyCarPedigree, a report that provides prospective buyers with the service and cosmetic reconditioning history of the vehicle they are considering, as well as the original build specifications.
“We take all the good things about reconditioning and put them out there for customers,” said iReconCars Co-founder Mike Boyd. “They get the information they want to know, that the car has been taken care of.”
What does that mean to a buyer?
Used car warranties are great for peace of mind, but wouldn’t you like to know in writing exactly what the dealership has done to make that pre-owned car seem so all-brand-new?
And to a dealer?
A well-managed reconditioning process saves time, money, and improves the quality of the pre-owned vehicle. MyCarPedigree improves transparency and the customer experience. Happy customers make referrals, return for service and the purchase their next and future cars.
Filling the Gap
“The market crash of 2008 devastated the used and new car market,” Boyd said. “That made people in the automotive industry realize they had to revamp what they were doing. Technology that was coming out was about pricing to a larger market, not just selling to your own backyard. Dealerships had to figure out how to stay relevant with consumers making a big move to online.”
Pricing and location software solutions made it easier to find vehicles that were trending with customers and to price to meet margins, but there were bottlenecks that prevented dealers from making sales.
“Just because you buy twenty to thirty more cars,” said Boyd, who was with a Lexus dealership at the time, “doesn’t mean you can get them into the front row, ready to sell. We had a good pricing and marketing strategy. Consumers were coming in, seeking product, but the vehicles were penned up between acquisition and sale.”
Boyd began mapping the actual reconditioning process. “I was a car guy who was living it,” he said. “When I started patterning, it produced data.”
That’s when he had the big idea that was to become iReconCars.
From Big Idea to Market Validation to Customers
Boyd’s vision was for an automated tool to help dealers and their reconditioning vendors manage the end-to-end vehicle reconditioning process.
Then he took his idea a step further and imagined the reporting system (it became MyCarPedigree) that repurposed the information from the reconditioning process into a value-added service for customers that provided an entirely transparent view of exactly how a vehicle had been reconditioned since arriving at the dealership.
Between the day a car dealership buys a used car or takes one in trade and the day a new owner drives that same car off the lot, quite a bit happens to that automobile.
Some work is internal to the dealership; much is completed by outside vendors. Before the car to ready to sell, the engine is serviced. There can be body work—from touchups to full paint jobs and repair.
“Rev1 was one of our first touch points,” Boyd said. “I came in with an idea and a bunch of pictures on paper. I told them I wanted to talk with someone, that I had a market disruptor that made sense. I stood in front of them for an hour, with just what was in my mind and on these pieces of paper. They pushed back. Reconditioning—managing the day-today of dents and repair—isn’t thrilling, but we went through several rounds. They saw something they liked, and we just kept working through it.”
Boyd built a minimally viable product and piloted at the Lexus dealership where he worked.
“We had tremendous success,” he said, “almost overnight. The day before the system went live, we were averaging 22 days from getting the car, to parking it on the front row. Turning on our system dropped that to eight days, and then with a little experience, we dropped that to an average of four.”
Vendors drive the recon process. iReconCars makes it simple for them. “They loved seeing where they could correct and took it upon themselves to improve,” Boyd said. “For certified and pre-owned cars, the quality is so great nowadays, dealers can use MyCarPedigree as information to move the consumer further down the sales cycle.”
The iReconCars team is leveraging industry knowledge and contacts to ramp up sales. They are marketing at trade shows and to larger dealerships, including speaking at dealer conventions. Lexus has been a referral point for dealerships.
“We understand the car guy and how the market is moving,” Boyd said. “Everyone has the same pain point. They see how we help turn their recon spend into a benefit for customers.”
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