PHOTO BY MIKE BAKER
Car Data Dealer: MarketScan’s Rusty West with 2002 Ferrari 360GT in Camarillo Office
AUTOMOTIVE: Software makers partner to reach wider market.
MarketScan, a Camarillo producer of automotive financing software, has forged an alliance with Dallas counterpart StoneEagle to parlay their respective strengths into improving their services.
The two companies, which announced their joint venture on Jan. 22, have conceived a variety of products for their client dealerships, including mProve Diagnostics, a transaction analysis tool which was introduced in January at the National Automobile Dealers Association Show in San Francisco along with two other new products, mPortal and mDrive.
The alliance aims to pair MarketScan’s software development skills with StoneEagle’s client roster of thousand of dealerships.
Automotive: Deal Analysis Improves Sales Systems
The mProve Diagnostics software shows dealers where profit opportunities could have been maximized for each transaction and exactly how each deal should have been constructed to improve the profit and competitiveness of the deal.
“We’re merging a set of data that they have with a set of data we have for one product,” MarketScan Chief Executive Rusty West said. “StoneEagle’s data set makes that product possible for us; they have the data available that has happened. We can show this is where the opportunities are. It’s what made this new product possible.”
MarketScan leases the software to its clients.
“We sell the software to the dealers on a month-to-month basis; no long-term contractual commitment is required,” said Chief Marketing Officer Carsten Preisz at MarketScan, which is located at 815 Camarillo Springs Road.
StoneEagle Chief Executive Cindy Allen said: “What’s really great about the tool is that you can (glean) a day’s worth or month’s worth of data and pass them through the process. It makes perfect sense.”
While it’s still too soon since the release of mProve to gauge its traction in the broader market, local dealerships have been employing existing MarketScan products, including mDesking, mQuote, mGauge, mScanAPI and mDrive, in their business for years.
“We have used MarketScan for the past 25 years and they have been an integral part of what we do everyday,” said President of Sales Eric Brooks of L.A. Car Connection Inc. a division of CarBlip located in Westlake Village. “Their comprehensive detailed data that is used within our company is unsurpassed from any other content provider out there.”
How it works
MarketScan software such as mProve takes into account all applicable financial factors in a sales contract, including warranty products, extended warranty products and protection packages.
“The data we track it can change from state to state, ZIP code to ZIP code, dealership to dealership. There are also rebates that vary for cars on the same lot,” West explained.
StoneEagle’s system extracts data from each dealership every night and provides an analysis of which cars are selling or not selling.
“Our whole business has evolved into the aggregation of info from lenders, municipalities and dealers,” West said, designed to yield 100 percent accurate monthly payment estimates. “We can determine what is the cheapest monthly payment for a consumer. We can take any payments from a consumer – $1,500 up front, $400 a month, 12,000 miles a year and figure out what is the profit available – and combine them with the rebates from the manufacturer.”
West said that software such as MarketScan’s maximizes the benefits for the consumer, the dealer and the lender.
“We’re trying to find that perfect combination,” he added.
The software developed by both companies is the fruit of an informal professional relationship between the Ventura County company and its Richardson, Texas counterpart.
Both companies plan to participate in selling their combined products.
“MarketScan will be doing a lot of marketing on their side,” said Allen at StoneEagle. “But this will be one of the things we can mention to our dealers at a lot of conferences. We touch 10,000 dealers nationwide with product rating submission of sold deals.”
West noted that for its first 25 years, MarketScan has provided “on the fly” data analysis. In contrast, with StoneEagle it plans to provide systemic diagnostics so the dealers can improve the way they sell and finance cars in the future.
MarketScan has its roots in Atlanta, where it started in 1988.
“My dad was in the car business long before he ever met my Mom,” West said of Russell West, with whom he ran the company until his death in 2005. “My dad was one of the pioneers of leasing, kind of considered the grandfather of the automotive leasing.”
West joined the family enterprise after he graduated from college with a computer science and physics degree. His father immediately put him to work writing software for vehicle leases. It took about 14 months for West to develop the program.
“We figured out this was something we could sell,” West recalled. The father-son team began selling software to Atlanta dealerships.
Clark Beven, a friend who had a now-defunct marketing company in Westlake Village, encouraged the Wests to head west after their product met with huge success in Los Angeles County. In 1990, West pawned the title of his car and flew to California, where he set up MarketScan.
Until nine years ago, MarketScan was based in Westlake Village, with an office at Lindero Canyon and Agoura Road.
“I had an opportunity to buy a building in Camarillo,” West said of the property, which actually consisted of two buildings with common wall that he demolished to double the space for the company.
At one point, MarketScan had more than 100 people in data entry alone. However, the company has since streamlined down to half its size thanks to technology.
“Over five years, we automated the bulk of manual entry, which absolutely changed our landscape,” said West.
Currently, MarketScan works with digital retailers of autos; the company’s software acts as a data-crunching engine for online operators including L.A.-based TrueCar, AutoGravity, Auto Z, AutoLoop, CarBlip, Carlease, Chroma Cars, Dealer Insights, Dealer Inspire, Dealer Teamwork and DealerDNA.
Because there are so many of these companies popping up online over time, inherent in the company’s license agreement are stipulations designed to weed out the fly-by-nights.
“We’re very selective with the companies we work with,” West said. “In the next two years, hundreds of digital retail companies will come and go.”
By Michael Aushenker, Staff Reporter
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Market Scan Information Systems, Inc.