During this discussion, Ben Cooper, Managing Director – International, of Impel discussed Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its thrust into the mainstream in 2023. Ben distinguished between the two types of AI as:

  • ‘Conversational’ AI - used to understand human language.
  • ‘Generative’ AI – used to create new content.

In the presentation, Ben noted that the automotive industry is ‘ripe’ for AI, particularly with the various points of contact a consumer will go through, for instance, when purchasing a car.

Ben stressed that ‘AI is not here to take jobs’ rather implying that its introduction will provide a dual benefit of productivity and customer service. For instance, certain tasks, such as chasing up customers could be dealt with by AI freeing up more time for a salesperson to focus on other tasks which require attention in the customer experience.

Kim Costello, Chief Marketing Office and Chief Customer Officer of Pendragon, was also present at the discussion and emphasised that AI will not replace jobs and will remove the ‘human error experience’.

Conversely, it was highlighted that should a firm onboard AI, it is important to be aware of confidential data held and that data should be cleaned up, stored in one place and easily accidentally.

With the advent of AI, it appears that various sections of the automotive industry are looking at how to implement and how it would fit in respect of their businesses – the NFDA will be monitoring any AI developments on behalf of its members.

Cybercrime: Plan your digital defence

As the online world grows increasingly more connected, cyber criminals are seeking more opportunities to carry out attacks ranging from actors who are primarily interested in generating revenue to stealing intellectual property. It is important for franchised dealers to assess their digital defence systems and if they are carrying out regular cyber due diligence to ward off any attacks. Please refer to the following cyber safety tips:

  • Ensure cyber due diligence is on the agenda – analyse what networks may be vulnerable.
  • Draw up a business continuity plan in the event a cyber-attack does occur – it is important to plan ahead to ensure what steps the business will take.
  • Raise awareness to staff and colleagues – ensure all individuals at the company are aware of company procedures regarding cyber security and the potential consequences of a cyber-attack, for instance, the loss of money from a cyber attack may lead to wages being unpaid.
  • Keep on top of the basics such as changing passwords monthly.

82% of ransom attacks are due to an ‘insider threat’. Essentially, this means that an individual within a firm may have accidentally clicked on a link allowing a cyber attacker ‘inside’. Whilst the majority of these were not cases of malicious intent, it emphasises the importance of raising awareness to staff and colleagues on this issue.

In the event, your firm has been hit by a cyber attack it is important to contact the police as soon as possible, who work in tandem with the National Cyber Security Centre on these matters.

The Big Agency Model Debate

This discussion sought to stimulate debate on the benefits of agency but also the challenges it creates for the sector. Present at the discussion was Miles Trower, TLT partner and NFDA’s retained legal advisor and also Nicole Melillo Shaw, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK.

During the discussion, Nicole emphasised that the agency model would aid the customer experience and allow OEMs more accessibility to data for consumers.

Miles discussed the commercial and regulatory risk perspective, particularly in the face of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Act which looks set to be a key focal point of the government’s agenda for the upcoming Parliamentary session. The Act looks set to provide a more vigorous protection of consumer laws whilst affording more investigatory and fining powers to the regulatory body. The NFDA will be monitoring this bill as it passes through Parliament and will advise our members accordingly. Find a snippet of the discussion HERE.