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Online System From Chrome Assists Financing of Personalized Vehicles

2004-11-10 - Portland, OR, USA: The increasing personalization of vehicles adds complexity to financing arrangements, as a car or truck may vary significantly in price depending on the personalised options chosen. Chrome Systems Corporation, provider of automotive data, configuration technology and commerce solutions, has announced the release of Chrome Original Price Service(TM), a web interface that enables end users to enter a VIN or specify a year-make-model-style combination and get original pricing and details for the requested vehicle. The new service recognises that the value of big-ticket items, such as vehicles, can vary according to the personalised (or mass customized) features selected at the time of purchase.

Chrome provides vehicle content, software, technology and services to deliver complete enterprise solutions to all segments of the retail automotive industry, with over 13,500 clients in total. These segments include manufacturers, fleet companies, dealers, Internet sites, and financial institutions. Half of all automotive dealers in the U.S. and Canada are clients of Chrome. The company pioneered the technology behind electronic vehicle configuration with the introduction of PC Carbook(R), and since 1986 has collected, analysed and enhanced "raw" automotive data from all manufacturers.

Chrome's Original Price Service solves the problem of knowing exactly how much a vehicle should be worth based on the options it carries. Options added at the factory or by the dealer can alter value. Knowing specifically which entertainment system, say, was added can alter the true value of a vehicle. But for a lender decisioning a loan or certifying a portfolio, it is necessary to make sure that the collateral or asset is accurately described and valued.

End users enter a VIN or a Year-Make-Model combination and receive an online list of all options available for the requested vehicle. Since Chrome's vehicle data is updated weekly, the MSRP and Invoice prices shown are current as well as reliable. For two years in a row, an independent study by CNW Marketing Research concluded that Chrome's vehicle data is the most accurate on the Internet.

Original Price Service displays a dynamic check list of the vehicle's options and current prices. As you add or remove options, the prices adjust accordingly, reflecting the changes. At the end of the process, you have a description of an accurately configured and priced vehicle, which you may view on-screen or print as a PDF (portable document file). Additional methods of publishing the information are available as system options.

The combination of Chrome's configuration logic and the list of what is on or could be on a vehicle means the vehicle price does not count the same features more than once. For example, if you select a package that conflicts with a previously selected option, you are alerted and asked to choose which option to add to the vehicle.

"Because of Chrome Original Price Service, lenders no longer have to spend time on the phone rehashing vehicle details with a dealer," said David Mingle, Chrome's president. "Plus, they can now quickly validate those hard-to-read faxed dealer invoices. With the high number of car loans crossing a typical desk today, fast turn-around time is a huge benefit."

The launch of Original Price Service marks an important point in the development of mass customisation. The concept of providing product configuration and price data to lenders could be applied to any other sector where the price will vary according to the personalised options selected. In the future, this type of service might be used by mortgage providers where houses are constructed from modular sections, with the total house and mortgage value dependent on the combination of modules selected by the home buyer. The mortgage provider could verify the value of the house by inputting the specification on a system similar in concept to Chrome's Original Price Service.

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