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10 Fields Automotive Dealerships to Adopt RFID

The MyDealerLot solution, using passive UHF radio frequency identification technology, enables the dealerships' maintenance and sales staff to greet customers personally, and provide more efficient service.
By Claire Swedberg
When a new car is sold, or when a vehicle comes in for service, an adhesive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag is attached to that car's windshield. The tag stores a unique ID number, explains George Cresto, MyDealerLot's founder and CEO, and information about the vehicle identification number (VIN) and the owner's name is linked to that ID in the MyDealerLot software. A record of the car's purchase, along with the service provided to that vehicle, is subsequently stored in the database.

When a customer enters the service area, the portal's ALR-9900+ reader interrogates the RFID tag and forwards the ID to standalone software, residing onsite. The software then displays that individual's name on the plasma screen in the service area, and rings an audible alert to let workers know of a status change on the screen. An employee can then view the name listed on the screen, respond immediately to that customer by meeting him at his car and greeting him by name. At the same time, the software sends a text message or e-mail to the appropriate client advisor (the individual on the sales floor who sold that customer the vehicle), prompting the advisor to stop by the service area and greet him personally.

An RFID reader and antenna were also installed at Fields BMW Winter Park's car wash.

Upon receiving BMW service, the customer is entitled to free use of one of the lot's 62 loaner cars, which are also equipped with a UHF Gen 2 RFID tag. When a customer is assigned a particular loaner, his name is input with the ID number stored in the software for that vehicle. When the driver later returns with that loaner, another e-mail or text message is sent—in this case, to the service advisor, who then knows which vehicle the individual has arrived to pick up. In the event that a customer's car is taken to the car wash as part of the service process, the portal at that location reads the vehicle's tag, and the status is listed on the screen in the maintenance area, informing the staff of its whereabouts.

When a loaner car is returned, an alert is displayed on the receptionist's screen, indicating that a customer has brought back the vehicle and will be picking up his own car and paying for service, and thereby improving efficiency for both the staff and customers. The receptionist can then prepare the vehicle owner's paperwork before that person enters the office, so that he can quickly pay for the service. That feature has resulted in the payment process becoming more efficient, and fewer customer queues taking place throughout the day.

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