Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described Dealer-FX’s reasons for upgrading its wiAdvisor product and also mischaracterized some of the technical issues related to service departments’ integration with dealership management systems.
TORONTO -- Service technology provider Dealer-FX hopes a "new coat of paint" on its signature wiAdvisor product will help win over some Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealers.
CEO Gary Kalk conceded that wiAdvisor, the tablet-based software used at about 1,700 FCA dealerships mostly in the U.S., needed an update to satisfy dealers hungry for new features.
He's banking on wiAdvisor 3.0, as he calls it, to do the job.
From the moment a vehicle enters the service lane, wiAdvisor gives dealers access to real-time data and analytics about a dealership's fixed operations while helping to connect customers digitally.
Demand for wiAdvisor and similar products branded for other automakers has helped Dealer-FX expand employee count to 448, up 51 percent since the end of 2016, at its Markham, Ontario, headquarters outside Toronto.
Dealer-FX positions its products, which compete with the likes of Cox Automotive's Xtime and CDK Global's ELead1One, as unique in their ability to inject technology into the customer's arrival into the service lane while allowing dealerships to glean real-time data about their business.
WiAdvisor was an early success for Kalk at Dealer-FX, which he founded in 2007. But as the company launched software for other automakers in recent years, often with newer, better features such as multipoint inspection tools and e-payment service, wiAdvisor lost some luster.
"When FCA said, 'We're starting to lose a few dealers and the sentiment out there isn't overwhelmingly positive about wiAdvisor,' we said, 'Yes, because over a period of time, we haven't put a new coat of paint on it,'" Kalk told Automotive News.