Cox Automotive and Penske jointly develop automated vehicle retailing platform for online car buying

Penske Automotive Group and Cox Automotive have debuted an industry-first automated digital retailing platform for vehicle sales. Joining us today to discuss this development, is Marianne Johnson, Chief Product Officer at Cox Automotive, alongside Mike Barrington, who is the Senior Vice President and Business Leader of Digital Commerce and Retail Transactions at Cox Automotive as well. We’re also pleased to welcome Kelly Mulroney, Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering for Digital Commerce and Retail Transactions at Cox Automotive.

Esntial Commerce™ is a cutting-edge digital retailing platform that aims to deliver a fast and frictionless consumer experience while also shifting the paradigm in car dealer profitability. Barrington begins the conversation by describing the inception of this platform.

Pre-pandemic, digital retailing had been in the automotive market for roughly 10 years, however, the industry as a whole was slow to adopt digital commerce. Cox Automotive set out to determine why and develop strategies to accelerate adoption. Barrington adds that digital retailing is more than a brand strategy and it’s more than improving the customer experience. It needs to be beneficial for the retailer.

Compared to other solutions in the market, Johnson says the key difference is the data, automation, and AI tools that Esntial Commerce™ has. This solution offers customers a frictionless experience that decreases anxiety about the ‘financeability’ of the vehicle they want. Another fundamental difference is allowing consumers to compare financing options for multiple vehicles at once.

From her perspective, Mulroney says that matching consumers’ interests and needs with their financial realities can be a challenge. Through the AI system and automated technology, Cox Automotive is enabling both consumers and dealers to solve that challenge much faster. Both parties can then commit to a transaction with total confidence.

MagiQual™ is an important, patent-pending capability to keep in mind as well. MagiQual personalizes the vehicle purchase by automating backend financing processes. This allows dealers to scale their online sales as consumer interest continues to grow.

Mulroney sums this up nicely by saying, “One of the things that Cox Automotive is driven to do, is enable change within the industry at scale. We’re really here to enable the whole ecosystem to meet the needs of consumers and their retail operations. And that’s a critical part of what we’re doing with Esntial Commerce™.”

While Esntial Commerce™ is 100% online, Cox Automotive has a broader array of digital retailing tools, some of which are geared toward facilitating an online to an in-store experience. Barrington says that while they do expect digital commerce to grow, they also realize that these online to in-store capabilities are also important in the market.

To find out more, watch the complete interview above.

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