The variety of organizations taking part in the auto industry is tremendous.
Not all dealerships are equal. The AutoNation Inc. group includes more than 230 separate dealerships. Don Davis Auto Group has just three. NIADA has more than 20,000 independent dealership members in the United States, and each has its own specific needs from the software that powers their business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Luckily, there is also a healthy range of dealership software products available. In this article, we’ll compare one of the biggest software developers in the industry with an up-and-coming startup that is quickly making a name for itself: CDK Global and DealerCue.
Who is CDK Global?
CDK Global Inc. is a giant software developer and service provider for the transportation industry. Previously part of Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP), CDK has survived over 40 years in the business and has reached international markets across six continents and eight verticals.
CDK is best known for their Dealer Management System (DMS) products. These comprehensive software platforms allow dealers to manage their inventory, stocking, appraisals, customer account management, sales, services tracking, reporting, accounting, and digital marketing from the same tool. Whatever your dealership does, CDK has a technological solution to save you time, optimize your process, and increase accountability.
However, bigger is not always better. CDK is a conglomerate with hundreds of thousands of moving parts. Customers of CDK complain vocally about the company’s poor customer support and complicated, often excessive billing system. CDK is trying to improve these systems, but issues remain.
Who is DealerCue?
DealerCue is a dealership software startup that sits on the opposite end of the spectrum from CDK in many ways. Founded in 2015, they have made a tremendous impact on the dealership industry in a short time. DealerCue has made real-time market data and insights accessible to everyone, not just the largest dealerships.
DealerCue is the company behind VinCue, a pricing, appraisal, and market intelligence platform. At the core is of VinCue is real-time market data from more than 40,000 dealerships and industry sources. The platform gives dealers insights about national and local market trends, as well as nearby competitors.
VinCue’s functionality is extended by other DealerCue tools that make use of the same real-time market data:
DealerCue’s suite works with both new and used car markets. The technology is on par with many of the company’s bigger competitors, but its price is affordable for any size dealership.
Comparing CDK vs. DealerCue
It’s difficult to compare a multi-billion dollar corporation to a startup. However, DealerCue’s products are very competitive to CDK’s products despite CDK’s size advantage. As former dealership execs, the founders of DealerCue deeply understand the needs of auto dealers and have built tools to fulfill those needs.
Let’s look at how these fleet of tools compare across several critical features:
Both CDK and DealerCue focus on the use of big data. They collect data on national and local markets that dealers can use to analyze competitors, make inventory decisions, and set unit price points. This data is the backbone for a strong appraisal and inventory strategy.
CDK, a spinoff of ADP, has decades worth of data from around the world for just about anything that has an engine. However, having too much information can be just as bad as not having enough.
DealerCue, on the other hand, focuses its efforts on one country and one vertical– American auto dealerships. They don’t offer DMS products, which means their data is strictly focused on car sales, inventory, and pricing metrics. DealerCue regularly pulls data from over 40,000 dealership sources to provide the most up-to-date insights for their customers.
Most large corporations cannot be as agile and adaptive as a startup. CDK’s products date back two generations and keeping them modern and relevant has been a problem for the company. Updating their systems requires a huge amount of preparation, validation, and testing to ensure that it works for all users.
Because they serve tens of thousands of users, CDK’s products have become bulky, complex, and difficult to operate. Many users have cited a steep learning curve, and others have complained about frequent downtime, connection issues, and an outdated user interface. Some customers have even reported switching to CDK’s competitors because of these issues.
Unlike CDK, DealerCue was built from the ground up for auto dealers. DealerCue’s products are housed in a single user interface and work together seamlessly. Customers can easily switch between tools by clicking a button in the sidebar menu. Not only that, the tools work together to create a more comprehensive view of your dealership’s market landscape. For example, inventory data from RevCue is pulled into VinCue so you can compare your inventory turn rate to the competition.
DealerCue products work on any device, including the VinCue mobile app. Reviews for DealerCue products have also been stellar, though they have fewer than CDK.
Both DealerCue and CDK use real-time data for the most accurate and up-to-date appraisals on the market. On VinCue, users just plug in the make, model, mileage, condition, and reconditioning costs of any used vehicle to get retail and wholesale values. VinCue users can also get appraisals on the go through the VinCue mobile app. Unlike other appraisal tools, VinCue pulls data from over 40,000 sources, not just dealership pricing books.
CDK’s Used Lot Intelligence has many of the same features, but only works with used car markets. For new vehicle pricing analysis, CDK customers need to purchase New Lot Intelligence.
For vehicle sourcing, DealerCue customers can add BidCue to their suite. BidCue identifies shortages and surges in demand to help dealers stock the right vehicles for their market. Once their inventory strategy is set, dealers can use BidCue to purchase vehicles in online auctions. Dealers always have VinCue’s market pricing data in hand, so they can be confident they are not over-bidding on a vehicle.
CDK Global does not have a sourcing tool for auto dealers, but they have partnered with auction houses in other industries like National Powersport Auctions.
Inventory Management and Websites
CDK offers many inventory management products that integrate tightly with their DMS and eCommerce products.
CDK Connected Lot allows dealers to appraise a vehicle with just a few taps on the phone, add photos and description and create a listing on their website and preferred marketplaces. Trade-in vehicles can go on for sale before the customer has even left the lot.
The company also offers a website platform to serve as dealerships’ digital storefronts. Depending on the payment plan, CDK offers dedicated web teams focused on growing your online presence and generating traffic to your website.
DealerCue’s inventory product, RevCue, is an automation-driven inventory and website management tool for dealers. RevCue will save you hours of manual work each week by automatically updating your website with the latest information.
Through RevCue, dealers can sync their DMS and website to automatically update online listings when a price is changed or the vehicle is purchased. There are several website templates available which offer a robust, responsive experience to online visitors.
RevCue will monitor your inventory and send out alerts when a listing goes stale or a vehicle is sitting on your lot longer than you want. These short reminders can make a big difference on your turn rate at the end of the year.
CDK offers a wide array of advertising options– paid search, video, social media, and display ads on all the major platforms like Google and Facebook.
Their platform analyzes ads and optimizes your content, placement, and budget for optimal results. Depending on the package, you get different levels of support and assistance from their advertising experts.
DealerCue’s ad management product, AdCue, works similarly.
AdCue identifies a dealer’s niche audience– the group of people most likely to respond to their listings– and then creates a unique ad targeting strategy to reach them. Unlike other ad platforms, AdCue doesn’t just place ads on popular 3rd party car websites. It utilizes ad display networks to target your niche audience on any website they visit, whether they are car-related or not. Not only is this less expensive, but it also ensures your ad stands out as the only car ad on the page.
AdCue analyzes data from past ad campaigns to determine the right audience, content, location, and timing to deliver ads. The best part is that DealerCue will manage the ad campaigns for free. All dealers have to do is pay for the ads that send visitors to their site.
Thanks to their big name and network, CDK can price their products at a premium, but that doesn’t guarantee the best experience. Although CDK is taking steps to fix its billing system, customers remain annoyed with the complicated bills they receive. Many reviews suggest that the bills are not understandable and dealers are left wondering what exactly they are paying for. At the same time, CDK has increased their profit margins and introduced harsh data integration fees on many of their partners.
DealerCue, on the other hand, is priced to be affordable for small and medium-sized dealerships. VinCue comes at a single monthly price with no setup fees, and BidCue comes complimentary. DealerCue will manage your AdCue campaigns for free, so all dealers have to pay for are the ads that work. RevCue comes at a fixed monthly price, which is the same for all customers regardless of size.
Even when purchasing the entire fleet of DealerCue products, dealers are going to pay just a fraction of the cost of a single CDK product. For similar functionality plus additional features like vehicle sourcing, DealerCue is at least worth a look from every dealership.
Which Dealer Tools are Right for You?
CDK Global operates in numerous industries all over the world. It’s no surprise that their individual customer support for auto dealers is lacking. Despite their powerful tools, CDK has had trouble modernizing their user experience, leaving customers feeling frustrated and eager to move on. They are trying to improve, but time will tell if they can pull it off in time.
DealerCue has made a big splash in the US automotive industry. With dealer-focused tools and pricing, they have built a powerful intelligence platform that helps dealers make better day-to-day decisions. From appraisals to inventory to marketing, DealerCue gives dealers more for less.
Which tool is right for you? If you’re interested in trying out DealerCue, contact us today to set up your free demo.