Thousands of auto dealerships will have a new ride-sharing option for their service customers, if they opt in to a Cox Automotive service.
Lyft will be integrated into Cox Automotive’s Xtime Fixed Ops software platform, which is used by retail automotive service departments. The addition, which is scheduled for the second half of 2019, will give vehicle owners an option for getting to and from service appointments.
More than 7,500 dealers currently use the software to manage customer service and maintenance. Last year, dealers used Xtime to handle more than 52 million service appointments and convert more than $13 billion in service revenue. Xtime is underpinned by an open software architecture that can be used by any dealership, regardless of its dealer management system.
The Lyft integration with Xtime will provide another way for dealerships to elevate the total ownership experience for customers, said Tully Williams, parts and service director for The Niello Company, and Xtime customer.
“Our success as a dealership is built on ensuring a positive service experience after a customer purchases a vehicle from us,” Williams stated. “As a business, this also helps simplify the management of alternative transportation options, which can reduce our operating expenses.”
The integration will allow customers to select Lyft as a transportation option during the service appointment scheduling process and enable the dealership advisor to arrange pick-ups and drop-offs through the check-in tablet application when the customer arrives at the dealership. For customers, this will reduce or eliminate wait times.
For dealerships, the integration provides potential cost savings and transportation flexibility by leveraging Lyft’s network of 1.9 million drivers. Dealerships can reduce or eliminate the fixed costs of shuttle and related driving and insurance expenses.
The integration enhances an area of business becoming increasingly important to dealers. In fact, service revenue now accounts for 49% of dealership profits, according to NADA research, and 74% of customers who visited a dealership in the last 12 months for service are likely to return to purchase their next vehicle, according to the recent Cox Automotive Service Industry Study.
The offering is likely to especially appeal to the 18- to 34-year-old customer bracket. More than half of millennials are using ride-hailing services, according to the 2018 Cox Automotive Evolution of Mobility Study.
The integration is a step toward helping transform automotive dealerships from sales centers into full-fledged transportation hubs, said Tracy Fred, vice president and general manager for Xtime at Cox Automotive.