Regular readers know that, from FMCC to Spartefinanz Abteilung, I am a captive finance booster. See here, for example. So, I was disappointed to see this omission from the BMW Centenary coverage in Automotive News.
I was employee number six behind, if memory serves, Kevin Westfall, David Paul, Mark Mundahl, Bob Devine, and John Dick. David is quoted in this ancient interview. Take a bow, gentlemen. Kudos also to the professional staff supplied by Bank One.
It’s worth noting the structure of this partnership. BMW had hired PWC to administer an RFP. Of many strong entries, Bank One was the only partner willing to use our computer systems. They were aware of our intention ultimately to bring the enterprise in-house, and control of the systems was key. This planned migration from a service provider to insourcing is the same structure Kevin employed for AutoNation Financial Services, and one I would still recommend today.
After Dealertrack, I started noticing how many other companies Cox Automotive has acquired. Many of my old friends are now Cox employees. I wondered if Cox would be able to find synergies among the subs. Acquirers always talk about synergy, which means that the combined entity should make more money than the subs could on their own. For example, listings on MakeMyDeal come from Autotrader, which benefits both.
There are other examples that I am not at liberty to disclose. Strategy buffs can play along using the exhibit below. Click the thumbnail for a larger image, print it out, and then draw lines connecting subs where synergies are possible. Look for cross selling, channel sharing, vertical integration, etc.
Be creative, but don’t be vague. You must be able to identify a project that will exploit each synergy. Extra points for stringing subs together in workflow sequence. Here is one that I spotted while making the chart. Any resemblance to an actual project is purely coincidental.
- AiM snaps a photo of an off-lease vehicle. This photo, plus some data, is uploaded to Manheim, then forwarded to HomeNet and advertised for resale on Dealer.com … all using a proprietary message format which we’ll call, playfully, COXML.
You can see that Cox tiles our function space pretty thoroughly (not to mention the Chinese holdings) so there is plenty of opportunity. Enjoy the game, and feel free to share your results.