vAuto debuts Nexi digital assistant for auto dealers

Lance Helgeson explained that Nexi puts data in front of a user in a way that's far more efficient than firing up a computer.
Lance Helgeson explained that Nexi puts data in front of a user in a way that's far more efficient than firing up a computer. | Contributed photo

Auto industry live market view provider vAuto has introduced Nexi, a digital assistant for automobile dealerships that operates much like Amazon's Alexa.

"We are debuting the industry's first digital assistant for dealerships," vAuto Director of Industry Analysis Lance Helgeson recently told Mega Dealer News. "The idea behind it is that everybody is busy and they need key insights to help prioritize the day. Some of those insights, perhaps, should be delivered in a manner that's more efficient than turning on the computer and looking at the screen."

Nexi puts that data in front of a user in a way that's far more efficient than firing up a computer and scanning for data, Helgeson said. 

"If you have vehicles that need to be repriced or if there's a car that you could buy at the auction right now, that you need at a certain profit, Nexi will tell you," he said. "We've done an integration with Alexa at Amazon, so you can get that verbally through Alexa devices. Or you can get it in email or text messages; those conventional ways of doing things."

Nexi's debut in Las Vegas at the 2018 National Automobile Dealers' Association convention had been announced by vAuto. 

"Through a skill for Amazon Alexa, available on Echo Devices, Nexi helps dealers access their inventory, sell cars and generate profit," vAuto said in that announcement. "The cloud-based service is capable of answering a full range of questions on inventory, local market data, operations and more."

Nexi works well with the fast-paced environment of the modern dealerships, vAuto founder and Executive Vice President of Cox Automotive Dale Pollak said in the vAuto announcement. 

"Dealers are incredibly busy and we've arrived at a time when voice-enabled assistance can help them multi-task and make the right decisions more efficiently and effectively," Pollak said. "Nexi is the industry's first skill that helps dealers know the critical conditions and tasks that need their attention now. Nexi provides this information in the most efficient manner possible -- by voice through the Amazon Alexa skill, as well as emails, text messages and notices within vAuto applications."

During his Mega Dealer News interview, Helgeson said Nexie is just now coming into existence and only just starting to display the fullness of its future potential. 

"It's nascent," he said. "As time goes on, it gets smarter and we get smarter. We will build out this technology, combined with artificial intelligence, machine learning, then it can actually do things for you."

However, Nexi is designed to work as well for auto dealers in turning inventory into sales as Alexa is at paying bills and turning on appliances, Helgeson said. 

"So if you know there's a car that you want to buy, you can buy it," he said. "Nexi can go through the process to buy that car and, theoretically, it could show up at your store."

More than saying, "Nexi, go buy a car," the device can alert a dealer to the sudden availability of the right car at the right price point, Helgeson said. 

"I have a car for you at this amount of money," Helgeson projected Nexi as saying. "Would you like to take a look at it? Then you look at it on your phone, click through it, and it will say either take or purchase, buy or pass."

Among more than 10,000 dealerships that vAuto serves are Asbury Automotive in Duluth, Georgia, offering products that include ConQuest for new cars and Stockwave, vAuto's wholesale acquisition tool.

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