AI and the automobile (Part 2): the impact on Automotive Sales

In Part 1 of this three part series, we talked about the birth of AI. Let’s now focus a bit more on the automobile world, with a stronger attention on the distribution part of the funnel (dealers, resellers, marketers, …).

First, be aware that there are several applications of AI available today. If you are not using them now, please know that your competitors are. These applications revolve around content creation and communication with clients.

Blogging with AI

The most obvious, albeit a bit trivial, is blogging and social media content creation. It is now much easier and faster to create a blog post, starting with just a simple request.

For instance, I asked GPT: “Please write me a blog post with 100 words about the main reasons to buy a car from a dealership”. And in about 5 seconds, the post was done!

Before GPT, it would take at least a couple of hours to write this post, have it re-read, checked for typos, and polished. 5 seconds vs 2 hours: not bad!

But hold on: an issue appears right away, the one of authenticity. Consumers may not see the difference, but search engines like Google are now pretty good at detecting AI-generated content and may not give you the best SEO score as a result. And if your SEO score drops, potential customers are less likely to find your website!

How can we deal with this? Well, spend a few minutes adding your personal touch - you don’t need long, maybe 5 minutes, to just adjust the wording to make it sound more like you. We tested this on the above post and with less than 5 minutes of tweaking, the AI-detection score went right away from ”nah, this is 100% AI generated” to “good human score”.

You are still at 10-15 minutes of work against 2+ hours of writing from scratch: still not bad at all!

Image Generation

Another AI area that I find truly magical is image Generation.

AI image generation engines, like Midjourney, Dall-E or Stable-Diffusion, possess a truly magical power to bring ideas and imagination to life. They have the ability to create stunning, realistic images that seem to capture the essence of dreams and fantasies. I really admire the transformative capabilities of this remarkable technology.

Here is a simple example where I asked MidJourney for a “a blue Toyota”:

Then I asked for something a bit more complex: “a 2018 blue Toyota Corolla driving in the mountains with a stunning sunset in the background. Studio Quality. In 16:9 format”. Here is the result:

And then I asked for the car to be moving:

This quality of work would have cost us at least $2-3,000 and taken a week or two to be completed. And here it is done in less than 1 minute, and for free.

Sometimes, AI still gets a bit crazy and invents things that are either surprising or are plain not correct - the AI jargon calls these “hallucinations”. Here is an example: Look at the board on the roof of the car - it looks like something halfway between a surfboard and a tuna 😀:

That’s a minor glitch in this exciting new technology, however! 

Finally: Chatbots Who Can Really Chat!

Another major category that can now be done with GPT are chatbots. Until now, chatbots have been notoriously disappointing. They rarely understand what you ask, and when they do, they don’t really know how to retrieve the information you want.

The new chatbots powered by GPT are remarkably effective due to their ability to not only understand, but also generate, natural-sounding text at an unprecedented level. It is reasonably easy to train them on a specific topic or on a company’s data and FAQs, which makes them highly versatile and useful, revolutionising the way customers interact with AI-powered conversational systems.

We have been testing and then using them at Autozen for a couple of months now and we love the results:

ChatGPT’s backbone also allows the bot to remember the previous answers and allow for a real conversation. This alone is very transformative:

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Here is another impressive GPT example.

Imagine you are a Subaru dealer, and you get the following request from a consumer: “I have a family of 4 with a big dog. We can spend about $55,000. Which model would you recommend to me?”

This is what GPT generated as a reply:

Not bad, is it? We are not at the stage of replacing a sales person of course, but this could serve as a friendly entry point for a visitor to a dealership website, or as an assistant to an actual sales person.

I think this matters a lot for the automotive industry. Too often, consumers are offered a chatbot that is supposed to be available 24/7 but it mostly focuses on capturing lead information and then informs the user that someone will call them later. As a consumer, you often feel “cheated” to have all your info captured but still not reply to your basic question.

This new generation of bots should allow for a much more efficient service (while still capturing that valuable lead information 😀)

IT Productivity Improvement

This next topic also applies to many industries, not just automobiles: IT development.

We know a lot of money is spent in IT by all of the automobile and autotech companies.

I could go very long on this topic but will try to keep it short: GPT and similar new AI models are materially expanding the speed and quality of the work of all software developers. From simple front-end code to advanced enterprise software, developers can gain superpowers by using AI to help write their code. Some leaders will report 25-30% productivity improvement in IT, but I have seen several CEOs talking about 200%+ improvements, and I think it’s real. We should soon see the cost of coding go down and development time get reduced.

Ultimately, there may be a world where coders are not needed much anymore, but I think we are far from it. For now, let’s benefit from these new tools as much as we can.


Here is a telling example:

The middle-of-the-road coder that I am asked: “Please give me the website code for a simple search box that will perform a Youtube search and return tutorial videos about a given YMMT.” 

In 15 seconds, it returned the complete code. And within a few minutes, I was running it, with no bug, inside a test VDP I was contemplating:

Let’s face it: if you have an automobile dealership in this day and age, you need to get on board with the advantages that AI can bring to your business before you get left behind by your competitors!



Part 3 - "AI Negatives: How Real? Should I Be Worried?"