Don Rinaldi understands the value of knowing where all his vehicles are at all time, whether it’s managing more than 850 vehicles spread out through three dealership locations — or his own truck parked at his home.
As general sales manager for new and pre-owned vehicles at Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge Of Corpus Christi, Rinaldi is responsible for the floor plan audit of new and used vehicles that may be on the lot, at a subcontractor getting a bed liner, in the service department or anywhere in between. As an owner of a new Dodge Ram 1500 Longhorn, Rinaldi was able to locate his truck when it was stolen from his driveway and driven across the border into Mexico. And the tool that Rinaldi uses to easily track the locations of all these vehicles is the same — the Mopar Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS) powered by Guidepoint Systems.
“I have them pre-loaded into every vehicle at the dealership — new and pre-owned — and also have in my personal vehicle,” Rinaldi said. “We use it as a selling tool, and it’s beneficial when we are doing an audit of our inventory. I can usually wrap up in one day what normally was taking me three days to get a floor plan check.”
Getting an exact count on vehicle inventory that may be on the new lot, the pre-owned lot or the truck lot is normally tricky business since some vehicles may be off premises. The Mopar EVTS modules “helps us to put our hands on those vehicles,” Rinaldi said.
“We have every new truck that comes in get a bed liner installed by a facility that’s right around the corner from our dealership,” he said. “Sometimes we have vehicles in the body shop, and sometimes they’re in the service bay. The system really makes it easy for us to find them.”
Dealership personnel can use any Internet-connected smartphone, PC or tablet to locate vehicles throughout the system using the Dealer Management Tool. The system can track where vehicles are, where they have been, how long they have been in certain locations, and usage history. In addition, the dealership can receive notifications if the battery is low or if the vehicle is driven outside of an area as small as the dealership lot.
Dealers say their mechanics can install the Mopar EVTS units in less than 20 minutes since they don’t require additional wiring connections to vehicles. The Mopar system is available on Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck vehicles and vehicles with a 16-pin diagnostic data port.
Tom Gafford, chief technology officer at Guidepoint, said the Mopar EVTS system does much more than inventory control. Dealerships around the country are using the system for monitoring loaner vehicles and parts delivery trucks as they are making their rounds. Since its main purpose is theft recovery, the system also detects impacts on a vehicle and movement of the vehicle without the engine running.
Rinaldi said he is a believer in the theft recovery system after his personal experience where his truck was stolen from his driveway, but recovered in Matamoros.
As part of the program, dealerships have access to live technical support and account administration support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each vehicle is also supported with around-the-clock alert notifications, emergency service dispatch, stolen vehicle recovery and law enforcement assistance.
“Dealerships across the country area using the Mopar EVTS tool to manage their internal operations and act as a profit center when the vehicle is sold,” Gafford said. “Some dealers preload all their vehicles with Mopar EVTS modules for lot management and protection, then convert the modules to consumer-friendly theft protection systems when they sell the vehicles.”
While the Lithia Chrysler dealership has been installing Mopar EVTS modules on new vehicles for at least three years, it recently began installing the modules on used vehicles in the last year. “It’s definitely been a beneficial tool,” Rinaldi said.
Guidepoint Systems, with headquarters in Detroit and main operational facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, offers nationwide tracking without a subscription for its basic service on the Mopar EVTS. Formed in 1999, Guidepoint owns and operates response centers staffed 24/7/365 in the United States and Mexico to provide a wide range of services for dealerships, commercial fleet managers and individual vehicle owners. Guidepoint customer service representatives personally handle notifications of impact, theft, driver emergencies and concierge services.
To learn more about how dealerships can use Guidepoint Systems, contact the company by calling (877) 477-3463 or writing to [email protected].