Risk
5/26/2010
02:50 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Mercedes Revs iPad Tool For Dealers

The iPad's Safari browser, rather than a custom app, is being used to deliver loan and leasing software to salespeople.

Inside Apple's iPad: FCC Teardown Photos
(click image to view gallery)
Inside Apple's iPad: FCC Teardown Photos
Mercedes-Benz Financial is working with 40 dealers to see if having software on an Apple iPad makes it easier to sell cars.

Using an iPad, salespeople will be able to show payment schedules, check promotions based on the vehicle identification number, and start the loan process. Wireless access means they can do it all while keeping the car shopper near the vehicle he or she (hopefully) covets.

Getting Mercedes-Benz Financial's software to run on the iPad was much less complicated than creating an app for the iPhone.

The company, which provides loans and leasing through Mercedes dealers, already had a robust, Web-based portal that dealers accessed via Internet Explorer from PCs. Dealers used it to access proprietary software called MB Advantage for tasks such as checking promotions and applying for loans.

Making MB Advantage work via the iPad's Safari browser took some adjustments so it could run without Flash, and to resolve some presentation issues related to size, scrolling, and frames, said Gary Bell, Mercedes-Benz Financial senior IT manager. But the company's IT team and contractors could do that work. By comparison, when in 2009 Mercedes Benz Financial created its iPhone application, which consumers can use to make payments and manage their accounts, it had to bring in more specialized developers.

To the salesperson, MB Advantage looks like an app on the iPad, since it has a custom icon they can put on their startup screen. The software also can be used during lease vehicle return, as employees can assess the vehicle's condition and record any damage into an MB Advantage application.

The iPad "created a new market segment" of devices and opened up this possibility, said Andreas Hinrichs, VP of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial. The iPhone was too small to be practical for MB Advantage, and previous tablets felt too much like niche devices. Just as it was quick to jump on the iPhone, the company wants to be an early adopter of innovative technology. It will be up to dealers to decide how best to use them as part of the sales process, Hinrichs said.

This is part of a broader mobile strategy for Mercedes-Benz Financial, said Hinrichs. It has expanded beyond the iPhone to make its consumer app available on other smartphones, and has collected $5.1 million in loan payments through the smartphone apps. Through the summer, it will assess the iPad use by the 40 dealers in the pilot group to decide if it should expand to all 350 dealers.

Mercedes-Benz Financial will be open to other tablet computers if they come on the market, just as it expanded to smartphones after its initial launch with the iPhone. "We want to stay somewhat device independent," said Hinrichs.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4467
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3, does not properly determine scrollbar boundaries during the rendering of FRAME elements, which allows remote attackers to spoof the UI via a crafted web site.

CVE-2014-4476
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4477
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4479
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4480
Published: 2015-01-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in afc in AppleFileConduit in Apple iOS before 8.1.3 and Apple TV before 7.0.3 allows attackers to access unintended filesystem locations by creating a symlink.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.