DAYTONA, Fla. —  Lithia Automotive has rolled out DMEautomotive (DMEa)’s new Driver Connect mobile app to more than 50 of its stores in an effort to solve the service “generation gap” and keep next-gen customers engaged.  

Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, the Lithia-branded and customized app allows consumers to browse new and used inventory, schedule service appointments, manage their vehicles' service histories, and receive targeted dealership alerts and offers.

The move was made in response to recent research conducted by DMEautomotive. Results showed that dealership service customers are aging, while the new wave of wired, hard-researching, high-spending Gen Ys and millennials are gravitating toward aftermarket chains. Driver Connect was specifically developed by DMEa to help attract and keep these mobile device-using customers, who represent the lifeblood of a dealership's service future.

"Clearly, our greatest challenge and biggest opportunity is reaching the next-gen service consumer, and one of the best ways to do that is with a mobile app,” said Ron Stoner, vice president of fixed operations for Lithia Automotive. “That app is DMEa's Driver Connect, and we're excited to provide it to our dealerships and dealership customers. And as the consumption of mobile apps spreads to older generations as well, the time is right to offer our customers this timely and convenient way to interact with our service centers."

The Lithia-branded Driver Connect app helps customers manage their vehicles' complete service history and appointment scheduling on the fly. Customer vehicle histories are automatically pulled from the DMS so they can receive up-to-the-minute recall info and alerts. The app also allows Lithia’s service customers to schedule a service appointment at any time.

To keep customers using it on a daily basis, Lithia's Driver Connect app also includes “cool tools,” such as Find My Car, a car finder that use GPS functionality, My Parking Meter, which provides meter expiration alerts, and a Gas Station Locator, among other features.