A new iGarage mobile phone app that directly connects car owners and dealers is expected to launch in the UK in September.

iGarage, which was developed by Redditch-based company AutoConnect, will be displayed at AM Live at the NEC on November 11.

The app is free for customers and can be used to provide preventative maintenance updates and the ability to contact their garage directly, to book service or a vehicle health check.

Customers can also authorize jobs, as well as download and pay invoices through the app.

Workshops can send notifications to customers who have the app on their smartphone.

AutoConnect operations manager Mark Taylor-Jones believes the app can replace “outdated contact database management methods.”

He said: “The system combines the technical know-how of experts with data that it learns by analyzing the maintenance records of other cars recorded on the system, using artificial intelligence, to make a idea of ​​what they can expect from their own particular model.

“IGarage has the potential to help a customer buy a car from a dealership and then walk them through the ownership journey, providing them with the best available deals for any maintenance or additional product as they arise. measure of its needs. It might even tell them the optimal time to think about replacing their vehicle at the best value for money and highlight potential alternatives. “

Shops pay a “small subscription” to link iGarage to their customers, but Taylor-Jones says this is outweighed by the benefits of automated marketing; a tool to increase customer loyalty throughout life; information to help support maintenance expenses and even the ability to provide a customer with their next car, at the “optimum of confidence” time.

He added: “The goal of iGarage is to be the facilitator and collector of information for consumers.

“All information in the app will be unbiased, as our business model is to take a small annual payment from repairers in exchange for providing a direct, live link to their customers – without soliciting any commissions or payments. from third party vendors. . “

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