American consumers tend to frown on some types of experience at car dealerships, but here is a big one: They get their vehicle inspected in a repair lane, and the service writer comes back with a list of problems as long as his hand.
Maybe you took the vehicle in for a funny sound from the front left tread, then you find out that maybe new tires, an engine tune-up, and oh yeah, it looks like your muffler is rusting.
UVEye can’t promise to take the angst out of this kind of all-too-typical experience for car owners at dealerships. But General Motors’ inspection-backed software startup is well on its way to providing customers with a quick experience, a more comprehensive data-backed catalog of their vehicle’s problems than was available, and a roadmap for better service profitability for dealers.
“It’s like an external MRI of the car,” explained Yaron Saghiv, chief marketing officer for the Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup.
In fact, a car subjected to UVEye literally passes in seconds through a gate that includes sensors, cameras and computers that almost instantly assess the vehicle’s physical condition and also perform a mechanical evaluation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning improve everything by compiling photos and other data and filling in an understanding of what is happening in parts of the vehicle that cannot be seen. The seller issues a report detailing everything that needs attention, with photos and details.
“You’re seeing the entire condition of the undercarriage, including any rust, broken parts or leaks, and the service advisor can explain exactly what you’re seeing,” said UVEye CEO and co-founder Amir Hever. “You’re getting detailed information about every single tire you own, for example: cuts, wear. And also on the whole outside. What is the condition of the vehicle? What needs servicing? What needs to be replaced? You get a full understanding.”
For what executives said was a “small installation fee” and a monthly subscription that costs dealers between $3,000 and $5,500 per month per gate, UVEye has already been installed in at least a few hundred US dealerships. That was before the company’s just-announced agreement to provide CarMax with UVEye for buyers of vehicles sold at auction.
“CarMax’s purpose is to drive integrity by being honest and transparent in every interaction,” said Dave Unice, CarMax’s vice president of merchandising operations, in a press release. “Our partnership with UVEye allows us to further this mission by providing dealers with highly detailed images of online auction vehicles.”
General Motors’ venture capital arm GM Ventures agreed last year to help finance the development and commercialization of the UVEye system.
“This gives the dealer higher credibility and higher closing rates and ultimately more purchases and more (consumer) confidence,” Saghiv said.
Add Hever: “We (dealers) don’t want to oversell you, but we want to make sure the vehicle you’re driving is safe to use. That’s why we recommend replacing things unless there might be a safety concern or it’s a critical system.”