FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Executives from CP Handheld have announced that VIN Query, a new tool designed to offer remote reconciliation for dealership inventories, has entered its testing phase and should be available by September.

The system uses a small, reusable device that plugs into each vehicle’s diagnostic port and relays its vehicle identification number (VIN) and location to an online web portal. John Cobb, CEO of CP Handheld, says the company’s concept could make traditional barcode-scanning methods obsolete. “VIN Query taps into the vehicle’s computer, reads the VIN and reports its presence and location on the lot,” he said. “Essentially, there will be no need for roll call, scanners and barcodes, or even physically walking the lot to take inventory.”  

Cobb added that the technology is designed specifically for dealerships, noting that the VIN Query device needs no provisioning — just plug any device in and it will send the VIN and vehicle location to the server. The units will be offered to CP Handheld’s base of more than 1,000 dealership customers, as well as wholesale lenders.

Dan Perry, the company’s president, first revealed the new product during a press conference at last month’s NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas. To illustrate the need for an automated inventory-management system, Perry described how one client — a high-volume, luxury-brand dealer — had become accustomed to taking a daily, car-by-car inventory of every vehicle on the lot. One hour on the VIN Query system, he said, could save dealers up to 18 hours’ worth of work.

“Each dealership has a huge amount of data, but it’s all over the place,” Perry said. “We have the only system that brings it all together.”