Investment

General Motors Investment Could Bring In Instant Inspection Stations To Dealerships

General Motor
GM
s Co. dealers will have the opportunity to install automated drive-through inspection stations under a deal announced Wednesday between the automaker and Israeli technology company UVeye.

Under the agreement, GM’s capital investment arm, GM Ventures, has made an investment in UVeye to help fund the development and commercialization of its inspection technology. At the same time, the automaker itself entered into an agreement with UVeye to look into installing the inspection systems at its 4,000 dealerships.

Several GM dealerships are already using the systems, said Dave Marsh, general manager, GM customer service and satisfaction during a briefing in Birmingham, Mich. While the automaker will “facilitate” placement of the inspection stations, it won’t subsidize the costs of installation or the monthly subscription fees for the service, he said.

“GM becomes the fourth OEM to invest in the company,” added UVeye CEO and co-founder Amir Hever. “We’re excited to have GM as partner. We share the same vision regarding the customer and consumer experience at dealerships.”

UVeye inspection stations use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high-definition camera technologies to quickly analyze a vehicle, checking tires, underbody components, defects in vehicle exteriors and missing parts. The car or truck simply drives through the inspection station without stopping.

GM’s Dave Marsh likened the process to a “rapid triage.”

Three UVeye inspection stations will be available to dealers:

  • Atlas – A 360-degree exterior inspection system scans sheet metal and other exterior components for paint chips, dents and other issues. While UVeye advises Atlas scanners are best suited for high-volume service facilities, fleet operations and assembly lines, Atlas Lite is specially designed for dealership use.
  • Artemis – Detects sidewall damage and tread depth, as well as tire air pressure, age and brand.
  • Helios – An underbody scanner able to detect a wide variety of potential safety issues, including fluid leaks and frame damage, as well as brake and exhaust system problems.

The Carl Black Automotive Group, with two GM showrooms in Atlanta, Ga, and one each in Nashville, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla. is already using the UVeye stations.

Marketing director Alex Bowsher told Forbes.com both new and used vehicles are inspected and the process is making a real difference in terms of efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“It’s automating the process for our service advisors, making it quicker for the customer, making it more transparent for the customer, almost making it like a medical report so you’re not fighting against the customer anymore you’re showing them the issues, this is why you need it fixed,” Bowsher said.

That sort of efficiency has become more important with the industry shortage of qualified service technicians, Marsh pointed out, giving dealerships the opportunity to better allocate a thin resource, noting, “If you can identify vehicles that potentially need additional inspection then you can put your technicians on that right away because bandwidth is terribly limited in dealerships right now.”

The quick inspections are also useful for detecting any damage vehicles may have incurred during transit from the assembly plant to the showroom as well as getting under the skin of trade-ins, providing dealers extra leverage when negotiating the allowances with customers.

The deal with GM represents further expansion of UVeye’s automotive business. Based in Tel Aviv, the company has 130 employees with additional offices in the U.S., Germany and Japan. It has attracted over $100 million in investments from companies that include Hyundai, VolvoCars, CarMax
KMX
, Toyota Tsusho, F.I.T. Ventures.

GM’s Dave Marsh would not reveal the value of its investment in UVeye, but heralded the automaker’s embracing the technology as a major milestone declaring, “We’re in the very beginning steps of a journey, but I’m telling you this is gonna be one of those things by the time we’re done I think we’re gonna mark this day, they’re gonna say they started to change the way customers are treated on the service line.”

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