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Commentary & Voices

The Power of Data in an Evolving Automotive Market


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As we navigate the fourth quarter, risks remain across the auto industry caused by the fallout from the United Auto Workers strike, a possible economic slowdown, and political uncertainty that’s putting downward pressure on consumer sentiment. In times like these, following the data is even more important—for us and our clients.

If you’ve followed the insights Jonathan Smoke and his team share each month, you’ve likely heard the vAuto name many times—but you may not understand how vAuto supports the wider enterprise. That’s why I was excited to join the Q3 Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index call earlier this month to share insights on vAuto and how our data is helping Cox Automotive—and our clients—navigate these unique times.

Founded in 2005, vAuto was among the early advocates for applying deep data science to vehicle inventory management, and it remains an essential part of the Cox Automotive ecosystem today. What makes vAuto an industry standout is its unmatched ability to provide dealers with a real-time view of their local market.

We do that through our flagship solution, ProfitTime GPS, which helps dealers optimize their used-vehicle inventory and process, and Stockwave, our wholesale solution that allows them to bid and buy across 300+ marketplaces. For new cars, our Conquest inventory management platform helps them improve their new car strategies and guide their pricing, merchandising and promotion decisions.

While our solutions span across the industry, from wholesale to used and new, what they all have in common is this: they are designed to help dealers maximize their returns on every vehicle. Data is how we help them achieve that.

Paired with actionable insights for their individual stores and their unique vehicles, vAuto’s data can predict the probability of any vehicle selling in the next seven days at any given price. In 2022 alone, vAuto helped over 14,000 dealers sell more than 23 million vehicles. That’s a lot of data, and it not only helps our clients but also enables Cox Automotive to understand the industry better than anyone else.

But beyond its deep data and live market view, what sets vAuto further apart in the marketplace is a sound philosophy. Nearly 20 years ago, vAuto founder Dale Pollak revolutionized the use of data science with the Velocity Method, which focused on turning inventory quickly. But as the market changed, so did vAuto, evolving to the current Variable Management approach that encourages dealers to focus on each vehicle’s individual investment potential.

This approach takes our unmatched view of the industry and uses it to help dealers understand that some vehicles are “turners” that need to be sold quickly, while others are “earners” that they can hold onto for greater profit. ProfitTime GPS is a purpose-built solution that helps dealers execute a Variable Management strategy, and to date, more than 2,000 dealers have signed on to this new way of managing inventory.

In an industry still experiencing unpredictable inventory levels with vehicle values that can shift quickly, it’s crucial for dealers to have data—and partners—that they can trust.

Cox Automotive understands these changing market dynamics better than anyone. That’s why dealers can trust vAuto’s innovative solutions to help them make smart decisions based on a live-market view.

And that’s why vAuto – and all the data its solutions provide – helps ensure that Cox Automotive is the most trusted, most informed service provider in the industry.

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