Vendor Newsmaker Q&A: Hal Dewsnap

Dec. 2, 2013
Aftermarket anti-theft systems can generate successful sales opportunities for both parts vendors and installers to assist in allying the fears of drivers concerned over security issues.

Having your vehicle stolen can be a heartbreaking, aggravating, angry and costly experience. Aftermarket anti-theft systems can generate successful sales opportunities for both parts vendors and installers to assist in allying the fears of drivers concerned over security issues.

Hal Dewsnap, LoJack’s senior vice president and general manager of U.S. sales, recently fielded a series of questions about the latest technological and marketing trends within this category:

Q: How would you assess the demand for aftermarket anti-theft equipment?

A: According to a 2012 FBI report, vehicle thefts across the U.S. are on the rise for the first time in eight years and national recovery rates are at a 30-year low. We’ve also conducted research that demonstrated that 79 percent of consumers think about vehicle theft occasionally or often.

Drivers today understand the value of protecting their vehicles and continue to look to anti-theft technology to avoid becoming part of the auto theft statistic.

Additionally, there continues to be a demand for good quality products offered by trusted brands for aftermarket business partners. When equipped with the right product and support, aftermarket add-ons can increase ROI for aftermarket providers without straining resources.

Q: Has demand been increasing over the past several years?

A: We’ve seen an increase in demand for the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, especially in areas most targeted by thieves, including states close to international borders and near U.S. ports like California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and New York. As such, our U.S. dealer unit volume growth has outpaced the U.S. auto industry for nine consecutive months. Another example of demand is that the New Mexico Department of Public Safety recently approached us about expanding our Stolen Vehicle Recovery Network into New Mexico. We have plans to make our recovery network available in New Mexico later this year.

Q: What are some of the key selling points for these types of systems? 

A: There are three key selling points: 1) there’s a solid value for the consumer, 2) it’s a product that aftermarket providers’ personnel can sell because of its tangible benefits and performance history, and 3) it’s a profitable product for aftermarket providers and their employees. The end customer needs to believe in a product and realize the value it can ultimately offer.

The LoJack System has a proven success rate, and by working with the police, provides customers with a level of comfort that their vehicle will be recovered if it’s ever stolen. And, it doesn’t just offer vehicle protection, it also provides peace of mind and security of the many valuable items we are all guilty of leaving in our vehicles – like laptops, paperwork, registrations and tools that could prohibit business performance. A vehicle is like a second home and when you protect your vehicle, you are protecting yourself and your belongings at the same time. Plus, the LoJack System is a tangible, hard-add product and that is a key selling point for customers as well as our aftermarket business partners.

Q: How effective are they in preventing vehicle theft?

A: The very existence of a theft recovery device, like the covert LoJack System, has helped deter criminals from auto theft. However, the primary purpose of the LoJack System is in stolen vehicle tracking and recovery. We recover more than 90 percent of stolen cars, trucks and SUVs. We also offer a base warranty with a 24-hour recovery or customers may receive a refund of the LoJack System cost, up to MSRP.

Q: Do you also sell your equipment overseas? How would you assess the international anti-theft marketplace?

A: We provide LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery Systems and support law enforcement in over 30 countries worldwide. Overall, Interpol reports more than 7.2 million vehicles were stolen globally in 2012. International theft rings, which span across multiple continents, play a major role in the vehicle theft business.

Q: How does an aftermarket business become a LoJack dealer? What are the qualifications?

A: We sell the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System through aftermarket providers that are located within our coverage areas of 28 states across the U.S. and, as I mentioned, we’ll soon be expanding into New Mexico. Interested businesses can contact our highly trained customer service team at (800) 4-LOJACK to discuss becoming a participating aftermarket business partner.

Q: Can this equipment be installed by do-it-yourselfers and sold by parts stores? Or is this best handled by professional installers?

A: Our equipment requires special installation training to ensure the system is properly, effectively and covertly fitted. We have a certified dealer installation program in which aftermarket business partners can have their trained technicians learn how to install the device on their own and make a greater profit. Or dealership partners can use our installation team that pre-installs or installs them on a one-by-one and ongoing basis.

Q: What training is required for installers? Do you provide this?

A: Our highly-specialized team of installers can visit any participating aftermarket provider for an on-site training session that demonstrates exactly how the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System works, as well as how to properly and discreetly install the equipment. We can also manage the installation process ourselves.

Q: What is your new Digital Learning Management System?

A: Recognizing the need for a more flexible and advanced sales training alternative, we recently launched a new digital dealer training website, the LoJack Digital Learning Management System. The interactive website features online modules that outline proven best practices for selling the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, as well as tactics to enable dealers to increase customer satisfaction and sales.

Q: What are some of the mobile applications?

A: As a component of the LoJack Digital Learning Management System, we’ve developed an enterprise dealer mobile application. The app, designed specifically for dealerships, helps sales teams illustrate the value of the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System and explains the cost of theft and more. A consumer tab includes popular selling tools such as localized theft risk assessment modules, a product comparison grid and a theft cost calculator.

We’ve also developed a mobile application for consumers that includes informational tools, such as a “Where I Parked” feature, a “Mobile Glove Box” that can store important vehicle information and detailed instructions on what to do in the event of a vehicle theft.

Q: What other services and/or products do you offer to aftermarket providers?

A: We want to ensure all of our aftermarket business partners and consumers have a variety of products and services that fit their unique needs. If a customer wants to be alerted if their vehicle moves without their permission, we offer an Early Warning upgrade. This component adds another layer of protection to the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System and alerts customers by text, e-mail or phone if their vehicle is moved without authorization.

In addition to the standard LoJack Limited Warranty, we also offer an extended warranty to provide drivers with five additional years of limited warranty protection for a one-time fee. The extended warranty begins at the expiration of the two year limited manufacturer’s warranty.  These are on top of additional warranties that we provide, including Protection Plus 5000. If your vehicle is stolen and not recovered within 30 days of the reported theft, or is deemed a total loss due to theft, this warranty provides up to a $5,000 benefit.

Our stolen vehicle recovery system is also customized for motorcycles, commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, heavy equipment and other mobile assets.

Lastly, LoJack recently began offering fleet management services for feet owners and managers. LoJack Fleet Management Powered by TomTom is a comprehensive GSM/GPS-based telematics system that is designed for tracking and managing fleets ranging from five to 5,000 vehicles.

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