How SiriusXM Automatic is Helping Dealers Offer Connected Cars to their Customers – Radhika Giri


At NADA 2020 in sunny Las Vegas, host Jim Fitzpatrick was joined by Radhika Giri, Vice President and General Manager of Product Marketing and Sales for Automatic, a SiriusXM company.


Jim Fitzpatrick: For the dealers that are watching right now, talk to us about what Automatic is.

Radhika Giri: Sure. Most people know SiriusXM as the world’s largest audio entertainment company.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I’m a huge fan.

Radhika Giri: Thank you for being a longtime customer and subscriber. SiriusXM is also one of the largest providers of connected vehicle services and Automatic is essentially advancing that technology to cars that are not connected. So there are about 200 million cars on the road that are not connected today. That means that they don’t come with connectivity from the factory and Automatic essentially turns any car, or almost any car, into a connected car.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Nice.

Radhika Giri: It delivers customers really important safety services like crash alert, realtime location, and for dealers, it allows them to stay connected to their customers even after they leave the lot.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Very nice.

Radhika Giri: Because we all know less than what is it, 20% of customers actually come back to their dealership after they buy it?

Jim Fitzpatrick: You’re exactly right.

Radhika Giri: It creates this connection through technology and also through some traditional marketing channels for the dealer to reach out to the customer when it is timely for the customer to come back to the dealership and we can talk a little bit more about that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, absolutely. Is this something that’s offered through the dealerships? They become the agent for it? They can install it into the cars? Talk to us a little about that.

Radhika Giri: Yes, exactly. The dealers with the purchase of the vehicle or when they sell the vehicle, they include it and the customer gives consent to put the adapter in the vehicle and most of the time customers say yes because they’re getting these really important services. Imagine knowing why your check engine light is on other than just knowing it’s P5067 and actually knowing what it means and then going and being directed back to your dealership for service.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s fantastic. That’s a dealer’s dream.

Radhika Giri: Exactly.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I mean, as a former dealer, if I could stay in touch with every single car that we’ve sold and we had that data, that’s… I mean, that’s so invaluable right there.

Radhika Giri: And it’s transparency and credibility for the dealer, right? I mean, dealers have done a great job over time, building trust with their customers, but now the dealers can say, “You can see everything that’s going on in your car, on your application,” so the customers trust the dealers even more and they’re more likely to come back and we’re seeing that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. That’s fantastic. So I interviewed the… Had the opportunity to interview the president of AutoNation and I know you guys are doing some cool things with AutoNation. Talk to us about that.

Radhika Giri: Yes. We’re so excited to partner with AutoNation. So they started last year with their five AutoNation USA stores and what I really appreciate about AutoNation is they’re a very thoughtful partner where they look at the data and they see if it is beneficial to them and they saw the benefit of driving customers back in for service and now they have expanded to major markets across the country.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s phenomenal.

Radhika Giri: Yeah and their customers love the service. So 97% of customers who have the adapter plugged into their car keep it plugged in. They don’t take it out.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great, 97%? That’s phenomenal.

Radhika Giri: Isn’t that amazing?

Jim Fitzpatrick: It really is.

Radhika Giri: Customers really are appreciating the service.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You know if AutoNation is doing something because these guys lead the industry. I don’t care what you say, everyone else in the industry looks at companies like AutoNation, a few others, but AutoNation being the largest retailer in the country, we want to know what they’re doing and then emulate that.

Radhika Giri: Right, exactly. Because they know that they can trust them to make the right decisions.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. Who better to be in a situation like this than SiriusXM because I mean it’s such a strong brand that when you’re offering that to the consumer, that’s a SiriusXM product, you’ve got them hands down. Right?

Radhika Giri: Exactly and what the dealers are getting from SiriusXM Automatic is on a daily or weekly basis, a list of service leads from… But it’s essentially their customers who bought the car from them and walked away from the dealership, but not just to list of… Because they know who bought the car. Right? But what we’re giving them is along with the customer information, is what’s going on with their car. If they’ve got a recall alert, they actually need scheduled maintenance, there’s a DT check engine light on-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s the list it gives to the dealers?

Radhika Giri: We give the dealers… It’s called our Dealer Insights Platform and we give this list to the dealers to contact the customer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I was going to say, so if I’m a dealer and I get this SiriusXM list and these people need this service, I just give it to my BDC and say, “Well, here are all the people you need to call to schedule a service appointment.”

Radhika Giri: Exactly and Jim, we’re even doing one better. We are not only… We’re telling the customers on behalf of the dealer. We’re sending them notifications on their mobile phone because Automatic has an app on their phone, which is branded with the dealer information. We’re sending them push notifications. We’re emailing them on top of it and in some cases, we’re even calling the customers. So we’re your outsourced BDC without you paying for it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wait a minute. Back up a minute. You offer a service that calls the customers?

Radhika Giri: In some cases we do where we remind them to go back to their dealer for a recall or a check engine light that’s on.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Then you’re also hitting them on their cell phone.

Radhika Giri: Exactly and email. So every touch point and it’s all directing them back to the dealer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That is fantastic. Is it also a profit center for the dealer to offer this? Talk to me about that.

Radhika Giri: Yeah, it depends on the dealership model. AutoNation is including it in every car that’s sold. There are other dealer groups that are selling it in their FNI and then there are other ones that are selling it at cost as part of the vehicle. So it depends the dealer, but we’re driving front end revenue for some significant dealer groups and we’re really excited about that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And dealers today need every possible form of revenue that they can make on the front end of a new car, or even on the back end of a new car, but at the same time, what you guys are doing is something really unique because you’re attaching that dealer to that car like never before.

Radhika Giri: Exactly. Yeah. There’s this web of connected vehicles out there to that dealership.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s pretty cool and meanwhile you’re collecting all of this data on behalf of the dealer as well.

Radhika Giri: And we’re sharing that back with the dealer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s nice.

Radhika Giri: And also with the customer, right? We’re being transparent with the customers so the dealer and the customer have the same information and there’s that trust that gets strengthened through that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s right. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know the SiriusXM brand. I mean you guys are the gold standard out there, right?

Radhika Giri: Yes, exactly. Thank you. We’ve worked very hard on that brand and that’s why we take this service very seriously because customers are letting us into their car, onto their phone and they really trust us. The other thing, Jim, I was going to mention, talking about your point, very excellent point on dealers looking for where they can make some front end revenue or backend revenue is in lot management, right? Because they lose money when they lose a car on the lot or while the customer’s waiting to see, okay, I want that car and the dealer is looking around for that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It also offers the location of the-

Radhika Giri: Yeah, the lot management. So the dealers and that was… Honestly it was because of dealer demand. When we were talking to dealers about this service, they’re like, “Can you help us before the car is sold?” And so we’re very excited to talk about our lot 360 solution as well, which goes from-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s huge because any dealer that’s got more than 100 cars in the lot, it gets so difficult to find out where those vehicles are. Sometimes people can be waiting in the showroom upwards of an hour waiting for the salesperson to locate the vehicle. Through this, you go, “Here’s your car.”

Radhika Giri: Exactly.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s pretty cool. That’s pretty cool. Thank you so much for joining me on the show.

Radhika Giri: Thank you so much and for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I loved to have you back to talk more about this and kind of do a followup after NADA. It sounds very exciting.

Radhika Giri: Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For dealers that are interested in this, go to a

Radhika Giri: Yeah,

Jim Fitzpatrick: okay. I think you owe it to yourself as a former dealer. This is a really cool system. It ties your customer’s car back to your dealership for service and you know where the vehicles are. You got to check it out. So thanks so much for joining us.

Radhika Giri: Thanks again, Jim.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Really appreciate it.