ATX Technologies, Inc., a telematics service provider to the automotive industry, has announced a service that connects motorists with their preferred dealer service center at the press of a button. With the system, care owners need only press a button in the car and say “dealer” to initiate a sophisticated communication with the dealer and its systems. The new Dealer Connect feature — part of ATX’s telematics-based vehicle Relationship Management (vRM) program — is designed to provide motorists with a simple, immediate, and direct connection to their automobile dealership when service or information pertaining to their telematics-enabled vehicle is desired. The new service will be demonstrated in New Orleans this weekend to a select group of dealers. When traveling outside their home area a direct link to the nearest dealership servicing their vehicle brand is also provided. Dealership benefits of a direct vehicle link are far reaching, including more frequent customer contact, improved customer retention and loyalty, and an enhanced ability to provide improved vehicle service. The Dealer Connect feature marks the first step by a telematics service provider to implement a robust vRM program that provides dealers with real-time, vehicle operating data prior to the vehicle entering the service bay, says the company. This communication of a vehicle’s fault codes, actual mileage and previous maintenance history enables technicians to pre-order parts and more accurately diagnose problems — saving dealerships time and money. “The Dealer Connect feature not only provides vehicle owners with a better level of customer service but also represents the first time the telematics industry has provided a direct benefit to the dealership,” said Steve Millstein, ATX president and chief executive officer. “The dealership is a critical part of the automotive sales process as well as the vehicle owner’s ongoing attitude toward the product and the brand. To expect telematics to enhance the overall vehicle ownership experience without involving the dealership is counter-intuitive.” ATX is currently conducting field demonstrations of the service to selected dealerships. The New Orleans demonstration bridges research that ATX conducted last year among general managers, service managers and parts managers of selected dealerships and the market launch of a vRM program by an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) later this year. ATX integrates wireless communications, database functions, and location- identification technologies to provide a complete line of telematics services, such as emergency response, roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, locating critical services, stolen vehicle tracking, convenience services such as routing assistance and navigation, and more. ATX also provides telematics-based convenience services such as real-time traffic, routing assistance, and Web-based information provision. ATX serves subscribers through its customers’ brands, including Mercedes- Benz, BMW, Jaguar, and Lincoln.