DMS provider Tekion senses an opportunity

From his perspective at Oracle, VMware, Tesla and elsewhere, Vijayan saw the auto industry as one of the fastest evolving — with electric cars, autonomous vehicles, subscription services and ride-hailing initiatives among other breakthrough ideas shaping the future.

But at the same time, he said, the dealership tech system had not even come close to catching up on the retail side of the business. More than just selling the car, the retail side is where car buyers do their shopping, financing, servicing and maintenance of the vehicle.

Tekion’s biggest challenge was breaking into the competitive DMS market where established companies such as Reynolds and Reynolds and CDK Global have been with some dealerships for years. Moving from one DMS provider to another can be an onerous process. “We’ve converted dealers that were on the same DMS systems for 40 years,” Vijayan said. “It’s almost impossible to convince them to switch.

“We need to convince dealers why we are different and can make a fundamental difference to their business to help them level the playing field with this technology and have an edge to operate today and in the future.”

Vijayan said Tekion’s Automotive Retail Cloud software is “super simple and beautiful.”

“It’s how I feel software should be,” he said. “Humans do much of the work, but this technology makes that work simple and easy. If it makes the work more complex, there is really no use for it.”

More than 600 dealerships have signed on with Tekion and the company says about 50 more join each month. There also are a few hundred dealers on its platform through enterprise programs.

Plus, the investment arms of automotive and manufacturing companies such as BMW i Ventures, Airbus Ventures, General Motors, Hyundai Motor Co. and Mitsubishi-Renault-Nissan Alliance, among others, have financially backed the company. The value of Tekion tripled to $3.5 billion in 2021 from more than $1 billion in 2020, according to a case study by UX Reactor, which worked with the company for 18 months on the development and launch of its Automotive Retail Cloud software.

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