We are delighted to announce our partnership with former Imperial Cars operations director and Cazoo retail operations director, Neil Smith, who has joined us as a board advisor and associate consultant working with the Autofinity Transform Consulting team.
Neil, who now runs his own automotive consultancy Moitorvait Limited, will be providing additional insight and resource to help dealers implement our technology to pool multiple data sources and create one information silo for each vehicle in stock.
Andy Whitehair, our CEO, said: “Neil’s extensive automotive retail expertise will be invaluable as we further develop our platform and extend our integration capabilities whilst dovetailing our approach to better suit individual dealership and group requirements. Neil is recognised as an ‘influencer’ in the UK motor trade and is experienced at cutting through to what really matters and crucially what works in practice.”
We sat down with Neil for five minutes and asked him a few questions.
Would you describe the quest for a ‘single view of truth’ for each vehicle, as a shared vision?
NS: I’ve known Andy [Whitehair – Autofinity CEO] for a number of years now and had an inkling of his vision for the Autofinity product from the early days. It was something we had been focused on at Imperial from 2015 when we took the brave, at the time some said, crazy decision to develop our own bespoke coded DMS from the ground up. The DMSs available to us at the time and even still today are not capable of delivering what was needed for a dynamic, accelerating, volume driven used car retailer. What we needed wasn’t specific to the used car retailing space it was needed across the whole of the vehicle retailing space – that was one qualified view of the truth.
You must have several suppliers looking to partner with you, so why Autofinity?
NS: Even today with all the technological advances accelerated by the pandemic and other more recent challenges, the main DMS providers still have not risen to this challenge. The products that Autofinity have developed deliver that ‘one view of the truth’ for vehicle sourcing, preparation, pricing, stock management and multi-platform publishing ensuring that at any time a vehicle retailer knows exactly what the ‘status’ is of any of its stock vehicles. ‘Why is that vehicle not on site?’; ‘Why has it taken so long to pass through preparation?’; ‘Why is it not getting the requisite number of full page advert views?; and ‘How is it priced against its competitor set?’ – all of these questions answered in one platform, a platform that collates all of this data from multiple systems and plays it back to the retailer in an easy to understand and easy to navigate format.
What do you bring to the table and how that will help dealers?
NS: I have a unique perspective on and view of the UK automotive space. I work with tech suppliers, lenders, start-ups, and vehicle retailers across small to large independents, supermarkets and franchised dealer groups. This gives me real insight into the current UK automotive market not only from a retailer, supplier and lender perspective but also from a consumer perspective. It’s clear that towards the end of my journey with Imperial, through Cazoo and now as a consultant, consumer expectations have increased year on year. Whatever the current view is on the ‘disruptors’ they have made it easier and more efficient to buy a used vehicle for a consumer. Vehicle retailers need to be able to react to consumer expectations and as we enter into a very challenging market, they need to have access to tools to react to consumers’ needs and that give them instant access to a vehicle’s status to play back to the consumer. I bring my insight, my experience and my network to the table.
How important is it to have ‘a single view of truth’ for each vehicle?
NS: I know that what we at Imperial were struggling with back in 2015 presented a ‘clear and present’ danger in relation to being able to scale that business as we projected. So, to now be able to say to those dealers that are still struggling with how they can improve their efficiencies that there is a product available right now that can do this by surfacing that ‘one view of the truth’ and as a result significantly reduce their days to turn without compromising profit is fantastic and this is how I will be making a real difference to the dealers I work with.
So, what exactly will you be doing?
NS: I will be using my network and experience to help shape the product suite as Autofinity further enhances it’s offering in the coming months and years. I will engage with vehicle retailers across the spectrum and I will solicit feedback from those that are looking to push their businesses forward, those that have a real appetite for growing their businesses even at a time when the market is slowing. I will also be recommending the product suite to those forward-thinking dealers, those innovators that just want to keep developing and improving – specifically the ‘early adopters’ that see real value in tech that provides those incremental gains at every stage of the process. Most importantly I will be ensuring that Autofinity is an instantly recognisable and trusted brand within the UK automotive space, recognised for its ability to improve dealer performance and trusted to deliver on that promise.
Welcome aboard, Neil, we look forward to working with you.