TransUnion’s Auto Dealer’s Guide Goes Online Only as Part of Industry’s Digital Transformation

It’s the end of an era for South Africa’s automotive industry: after nearly 63 years, the TransUnion Auto Dealers’ Guide – previously known as the Mead & McGrouther Auto Dealers’ Guide – will only be available digitally from later this year, with the final printed guides expected to make their appearance in October. The guide will be replaced by the 1Check app for the vehicle trade, with consumers having access to the information they need about vehicles they are planning to buy or sell via the FirstCheck service.

The guide was widely seen as the industry’s ‘bible’, and contains the retail and trade values of every make and model of car on the market. It has been available online for the past decade, but its transition to digital-only is part of a rapid digital transformation that is fundamentally changing the face of the South African auto industry, including the way vehicles are manufactured, sold and used.

The 1Check app, which has become the de facto source of information in the South African dealer automotive environment, provides an actionable, verified and robust view of current vehicle and customer data in real time, and ensures a level playing field to all stakeholders, including dealers, banks, insurers and consumers.

“As we gear up for the future of mobility, the use of data-driven digital products and solutions is changing practically every aspect of the automotive value chain for everyone, from manufacturers to dealers to consumers,” says Kriben Reddy, head of auto information services at TransUnion Africa. “Although our full suite of digital solutions has been live for several years, we still produced the printed versions in response to market demand. Now it just makes sense to go fully online at a time when it’s vital to build trust in a digital world.”

Reddy sees four ‘mega trends’ currently disrupting the automotive industry: connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, shared mobility, and electrification. Many of these are included in what he calls ‘mobility as a service’, which will go beyond traditional car ownership models to provide mobility to more South Africans through models that span subscription-based ownership, vehicles on demand, rental, peer-to-peer, car sharing, ride hailing, ride sharing, demand-responsive transport, and public transport.

“The challenge facing the industry is to create solutions that provide mobility beyond car ownership, and to find ways of using alternative data to allow more people to qualify for credit to buy or lease vehicles, whether for personal or micro-enterprise use. The only way we’re going to do this is through more effective use of data and insights,” said Reddy.

The new digital auto guide is expected to go some way towards solving one of the biggest issues in the market, namely the gap in pricing between a dealer and what might be submitted to a bank or an insurer, by standardising values and data across the entire ecosystem. It is linked to 56 car brands in the country, and provides access to a range of data points for every vehicle in South Africa, including the respective VIN numbers recorded for the past 25 years.

The digital guide is one of a range of digital services, like Digital Onboarding for Auto, which allows car dealers to leverage robust fraud and credit risk solutions through a secure platform, and is a turnkey solution that can be added to as and when they want to scale. This alleviates the burden of sourcing different vendors, strengthens Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, and enables personalised experiences. Most leading banks in South Africa now recognise Digital Onboarding as a valid eKYC service.

Consumers can use the FirstCheck service, which provides the current market value of the vehicle, its full history and legal status. This includes a link into bank and SA Police Service databases to check if a vehicle is currently being financed, or is flagged as stolen. It also allows consumers to instantly check their creditworthiness by purchasing their credit report. This empowers consumers by giving them the information they need to make better, more informed decisions around buying, selling and insuring cars.

Current subscriptions to the printed guide will be honoured until October 2022. After that, subscriptions will be migrated to the online platform.

To access the 1Check app, contact the TransUnion Auto Solutions Call Centre on 0861 504 504 or speak to your TransUnion representative