By: Phil Mullen, National Sales Manager

Last week, RoadVantage announced a new product that is the first of its kind on the F&I market – a GPS system that has been coupled with a theft protection benefit. I want to take a few minutes to explain our philosophy behind this product and why we are so passionate about getting it into as many vehicles as possible.

At the heart of every F&I product we offer is one simple value proposition: Does this program offer a clear benefit to real people? This is what has driven innovation for us, whether in the form of new products, new features, or better service.

Theft protection is one area that has stayed relatively unchanged over the years. There are add-on alarm systems that duplicate features that come standard on most vehicles today, and outdated theft recovery systems that use line-of-sight radio transceivers requiring law enforcement vehicles to be equipped with tracking units, creating large coverage gaps. Others are so expensive, only a small percentage of consumers can afford them, which in turn lead to dealers declining to install them.

So we decided it was time to innovate theft protection. We partnered with technology leaders in this space, looking to combine our strengths. The result is a solution that is both cutting edge and cost efficient at the same time. Our GPS System solves the problem at a price point that makes it attractive to consumers, in turn making it attractive to dealers. And when our theft protection benefit is added into the mix — guaranteeing the consumer will recover their vehicle or receive a payout — it makes even more sense to have it installed on every vehicle on the lot.

In a recent report on The Today Show, correspondent Jeff Rossen discovered that thieves in cold-weather locations are on the lookout for cars left idling to warm up while the owner is inside their home. In a matter of seconds, they hop in these vehicles and take off — and in many cases the owners never recover their vehicle.

The RoadVantage GPS System is a great solution for customers who live in parts of the country where warming up the car is a frequent occurrence. With our GPS system, a car can be tracked in real time, providing police with detailed and accurate reports of the cars’ movements, and allowing them the opportunity to quickly find and recover the vehicle. That kind of peace of mind is invaluable to many consumers.

ABC News also had a report about car theft, this time from dealership lots. These brazen thieves were walking onto the lots at night and making off with as many as eight to ten vehicles, all in under 2 minutes. Security footage caught the robbery in progress, but according to the report, only two of the stolen cars were ever recovered.

For dealers, the RoadVantage GPS system provides a dynamic inventory management system with features like geofencing — if a car drives off the lot and out of the area designated by the dealership, the owner will be notified as it is happening, and give the police the real-time whereabouts of their missing inventory. And because the GPS provides live data, law enforcement treats it as a crime in progress, rather than one being reported after the fact, prompting much swifter response times.

These are just two of many situations where this product can make a real difference. Dealers benefit from having the technology installed while on the lot, giving them much better inventory control. Then, consumers reap the benefits after purchase, by using speed, battery and boundary alerts to make sure new teen drivers and other family members are always safe. If a vehicle is stolen, the GPS increases the likelihood a customer’s vehicle will be returned. And with the theft protection benefit that is included with the GPS, it guarantees they won’t be left out in the cold, no matter how the situation ends.

We want to provide real value at every step in the lifecycle of a vehicle — from the dealer’s lot to the consumer’s driveway and out on the streets. We have challenged ourselves to provide a powerful solution at a price point that would make it a great deal for consumers and a strong profit center for dealers. Our company is built on a foundation of innovation and solutions that serve people, and I am proud that we continue to look for new ways to do that with products like this one.