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Posted: November 23, 2013

Dealers Need Restylers Who Know The 12-Volt Market

Jerry Redding of EcoMaster Explains why restylers should keep up on the latest electronic products

By Jerry Redding, VP of Operations, EchoMaster

Confidence in the economy has helped the restyling market. Improvements in the vehicles have helped interest people in buying new cars. Dealers are also asking restylers for products, especially electronics. It’s a problem-solution scenario. The restyler has the relationship with the dealer. The customer has a need, and the dealer is looking for a solution.

For instance, many customers are interested in a back-up camera. But the rear-view mirror may be Plain Jane or it may Bluetooth or a compass in it, which the customer wants to retain. The key is to keep these features, but give the customer something extra. So the dealer relies on the restyler to source a solution and put in a back-up camera that is as good as, if not better, than the factory. Our primary focus is safety-related products. Consumers are interested in safety, so we feel this will have the longest stability in the marketplace. Our challenge is integrating our products into a vehicle.

There are more infotainment screens nowadays, which gives a dealership the ability to make changes to the vehicle. So we want to get as many of our products onto the factory screen or into the vehicle as seamlessly as possible. Any way you can protect the driver and the vehicle is an opportunity. We try to do that with our back-up cameras, sensors, collision avoidance, and a lane-departure system and blind-spot technology that we’re working on. We’re also working on on-screen display technology to put our back-up sensors on the factory screen. I tell my customers if it has a bumper, it’s an opportunity.

There are a lot of opportunities in the fleet world, and if they’re doing business with car dealers, get to know all the departments. Our website has images and sell sheets, so they have something to bring to the dealership. Put marketing materials in the service drive, and work with the service department to generate extra revenue. Talk to the fleet manager. He’s selling all the base vehicles. But installers have to be educated. It’s hard to keep up with technology, because the OEMs are moving much faster than they used to. So we have to move faster to keep up with that technology.

Our products are not difficult to learn, but we educate our customers to be familiar with the product and understand how vehicles are designed. We have a technical website with installation videos and instructions, and a technical support program. Technology is very fast paced, and installers have to keep up. We want them to be knowledgeable about as many solutions as possible. In this day and age, they need to be a one-stop solution for their customers.

Edited by Ellen McKoy

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