Former Polestar director warns car dealers not to get ‘over-enthusiastic’ about AI

  • Avoid the AI hype and focus on what’s real, urges ex-Polestar exec Jason Craker
  • He says that 80% of AI’s buzzwords can be disregarded
  • Comments were made at webinar hosted by The Lead Agency

Time 6:44 am, May 19, 2024

Hype around artificial intelligence and its impact on the car industry is obscuring the true value of the technology.

That’s the verdict of ChangeMaker’s automotive transformation director, Jason Craker, who says that up to 80% of what’s being said about generative AI can be disregarded.

Speaking at a webinar organised by The Lead Agency, the former Polestar executive said AI may not be the fix-all solution that some car dealers are hoping for.

However, he said the new technology does have the potential to help them automate repetitive tasks to improve efficiency.

He also pointed to enhanced search and content retrieval functionality on dealers’ websites.

Craker, who was Polestar’s chief digital information officer from 2017 to 2020, told attendees at the webinar: ‘If I was still wearing my Polestar hat, I’d be thinking that things were coming at me from every angle.

‘Current issues include autonomous vehicles, new and disrupting OEMs, shifting consumer demand, and direct customer engagement through the agency model.

‘We also live in a world in which geo-political tensions are building and one in which factories are producing more cars than there’s demand for – all that has combined to create major uncertainty and a risk appetite that’s low.

Jason Craker

Jason Craker says AI may not be the fix-all solution that some car dealers are hoping for

‘In turn, that’s led to a great challenge in our industry – so it’s never been more critical for us to embrace change.’

The subject of how artificial technology can help car retailers is explored in our latest video series: The AI Car Dealership Project.

Car Dealer boss James Baggott has set up his own used car business and is using AI to guide him through the process.

But Craker says that dealers shouldn’t get too ‘over-enthusiastic’ about what the tech could deliver.

‘There’s always something which is the next best thing,’ he added. ‘But we shouldn’t be like insects heading towards a bright light – it won’t end well.

‘We’re very much at the stage where we have inflated expectations of AI. We need to confidently ignore 80% of the buzzwords and maximise value from the other 20%.’

Craker was joined on the webinar by fellow speakers Will McMahon, head of tech and innovation at The Spark Foundry, and Edward Clark, chief product officer at The Lead Agency.

The session was hosted by automotive consultant Patrick Fuller.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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