Taking the “Buy Here Pay Here” Market Beyond GPS
1. Setting the Stage.
“Buy Here Pay Here” vehicle dealerships are dealerships that extend financing to consumers in-house rather than through an auto lender, allowing those who may struggle to meet credit standards elsewhere due to no or poor credit history to have a greater opportunity in purchasing used vehicles. Consumers see the benefit of lower credit approval thresholds and an expedited path to purchase, with financing often wrapped up by the time a consumer drives the vehicle off the lot. However, these dealers do in turn assume higher risk by catering to this specific clientele.
To help off-set some of this uncertainty, Buy Here Pay Here dealers typically offer loans with higher interest rates and require larger down payments. Still, these dealers face the valid threat of potential loss of their assets, i.e. vehicles, and thus associated profits – all it takes is for a consumer to fall behind on payments, default, or skip town, for dealers to be left empty handed or without visibility to where their vehicles may have roamed.
To keep operations running smoothly, help reduce the market’s inherent risk, and avoid losing track of the most critical assets in their business, Buy Here Pay Here dealerships often turn to deploying vehicle asset tracking solutions. Many in particular turn to PassTime, a leading provider of mobile asset tracking solutions serving the automotive and larger IoT markets, headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.
2. The Challenge.
PassTime, known for its reliable service, 29+ years of client experience, and rich data analytics platform, offers a line of solutions customized to fit unique business needs across automotive and powersport industries, from new and used car dealers to auto finance and vehicle fleets. These IoT-based solutions connect vehicle assets to provide important data to customers to streamline operations and aid in making critical business decisions, such as helping recover lost or stolen assets within the Buy Here Pay Here market. This intelligence has proven to drive easier vehicle recovery, fewer defaults and delinquencies, reduced time and cost of repossession, as well as improved customer communication.
For decades, the auto industry has predominantly used GPS as its go-to positioning technology to track its assets, including vehicles themselves. There is no exception with the Buy Here Pay Here market, and historically, PassTime’s diverse portfolio of asset tracking solutions.
While GPS has been an industry standard for its ease of use, low cost, and overall reliability, it is not without its shortcomings. For example, while excellent in outdoor settings or while an asset is on the move, the technology lacks visibility indoors or whenever there is a significant obstruction to the open sky above – i.e. if a vehicle is taken into a warehouse, parking garage or other enclosed structure. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are traditional candidates for indoor asset positioning, though require additional, and often expensive, infrastructure to be installed, such as within and around the perimeter of a car lot or building. Blending these multiple location technology types into a single asset tracker results in higher power consumption and cost.
This leaves GPS-only asset trackers with an intrinsic gap in visibility, making it more difficult for Buy Here Pay Here dealers to recover vehicles whenever indoors or out of range. PassTime was looking for a way to extend secure, accurate, global location both indoors and outdoors for its customer base.
3. The Solution.
Meanwhile, an emerging, Dallas, Texas based location technology innovator named Polte was making waves in the asset tracking space. With 100+ patents and patents pending globally, secure edge to cloud architecture, and a proprietary cell tower database, Polte had produced the ability to offer the most accurate cellular location technology available on the market. With Polte, one technology could offer both indoor and outdoor location intelligence for PassTime customers, regardless of line of sight to the sky above.
After months of testing, PassTime and Polte announced a strategic partnership in December 2020. In May 2021, PassTime announced the launch of its new location service, “Beyond GPS,” incorporating Polte SuperRes to its line of Encore asset trackers in cases which GPS location information is unavailable. When a customer initiates a location request via their mobile app or online management system, Encore will automatically determine if GPS can be used.
If not, the device will simply leverage existing 4G/5G cellular infrastructure and Polte’s technology to obtain a location quickly and seamlessly – with no action necessary by the user. PassTime not only offered this in its new shipments of the wireless, battery-powered device, but upgraded all existing Encore devices in the field.
So, what does this mean? In the event a mobile asset needs to be recovered, Buy Here Pay Here dealerships utilizing PassTime’s new solution will still be provided the location of the asset – without needing to deploy any additional infrastructure or run up costs. Assets can be recovered quickly even if the asset is residing in a parking structure, underground lot, or otherwise unable to get a GPS signal. This offers greater peace of mind for Buy Here Pay Here dealerships, who otherwise may be left without the ability to locate their assets when there is fear of a potential loss or theft occurring in real time.
The power of Mobile IoT introduces a way for asset tracking solutions to vastly improve upon what was possible in the past with GPS location alone. In fact, mobile networks are ideal for providing connectivity for IoT devices, as these networks yield both indoor and outdoor coverage, less power consumption and lower costs – especially for the low bandwidth data needed for asset tracking. PassTime discovered that Mobile IoT in combination with Polte’s unique Cloud Location over Cellular (C-LoC) technology was what they needed to take their solutions to the next level. By marrying the capabilities of GPS and Polte, PassTime Encore devices now have the ability to simply listen to signals from existing global infrastructure and determine location in the cloud, offering customers universal asset visibility.
4. The Results.
As PassTime EVP and CTO Todd Goodnight put it, “Polte allows our customers to get accurate location information for their assets when GPS is not available. It is a game changer for us and our customers.”
Prior to incorporating Polte, PassTime’s locate success rate with the Encore line was 89.1%. In the 6 months following its addition of Polte through its debut of the “Beyond GPS” service, PassTime’s average locate success rate climbed to 98.3% with the added visibility provided where GPS could not draw a location.
Cutting down on the time required to search for missing assets has streamlined operations and boosted return on invested capital for PassTime’s Buy Here Pay Here customers as an agile extension to PassTime’s location management. Instead of hybridizing with options such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for indoor visibility, Polte’s integration has eliminated the significant overhead and hassle of access points or beacon deployments while conserving power.
Given its cellular nature, Polte will also capitalize on the ongoing rollout of 5G, including further densification of cell towers, to reap further enhanced accuracy and thus further improve PassTime’s vehicle management and recovery. Together, PassTime and Polte look forward to extending this visibility across the automotive industry and beyond into use cases such as the greater realm of leased asset tracking and supply chain. For more information about Polte’s global, cloud-based cellular location technology, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on PassTime’s Encore asset trackers, visit passtimegps.com/solutions/encore/.