Are car dealers under threat of modern technology?

A report in the Guardian newspaper on the 19th of September 2017 raised the spectre of some four million private sector jobs in the UK being “stolen” by robots or “artificial intelligence” (AI) by the year 2027.

The story cited a survey conducted by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) which argued that one of the most vulnerable sectors was transport and distribution.

At the end of the month, Automotive Management (AM Online) echoed the warning by announcing that a recently launched AI stands poised to replace the sales staff currently working in the motor trade including car dealerships.

Does this mean all or some elements of your car dealership could be replaced by AI?

Before throwing up your hands in dismay, it may be worth remembering that AI won’t replace the need for your mechanics who undertake servicing, MOT’s and repairs for which you will still require liability and motor trade insurance.

So let’s take a closer look at the AI system that is described

Could AI replace your sales staff?

The AI system described by AM Online relies upon information relayed from a telematic control unit or On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) device in the car which monitors the way the vehicle is being driven and the motorist’s driving style. The information generated is then used to suggest services or accessories which might suit that particular customer.

There are approx 100 indicators which the developers of the AI system have so far assembled and the system reports on a number of scenarios based on these indicators and measurements taken, for example:

  • the driver’s use of the accelerator;
  • the motorist’s general driving style; and
  • the frequency with which the vehicle needs to be serviced.

The system is designed to feedback suggested actions to the driver, who may then open an app on their smartphone, chat by text with the dealer, ask for a return call or enter into any other form of communication with the dealer.

Don’t dismiss your sales staff just yet

It is far too early to consider cutting back on your need for trade car insurance yet as the typical motor trade dealer currently employs staff that do much more than simply sell cars, so it’s unlikely AI systems will cause you to make all your staff redundancy any time soon.

Here at Aston Scott, we are specialists in the provision of insurance for motor traders and are here to help guide you through the many and varied ways in which it helps to protect not just you and your employees but also your motor trade business, your premises and your customers. If you would like to know more about how we do that, just give us a call today on 03300 085045 to see how we can help.

 

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