It doesn’t matter how many people I explain my new idea to, the reaction usually follows a similar pattern: An open mouth, a slowly worded ‘riiiiight’, and then, as it sinks in, a lot of questions.
That’s because I’ve decided to start up my own used car dealership – and I plan to use artificial intelligence to help me as much as possible along the way.
I’ve never run a used car dealer, or in fact, worked in one. But I’ve been writing about cars and the motor trade for more than two decades now.
My thinking goes something like this: What better way to understand exactly what the readers of Car Dealer are going through, than to experience it myself?
However, with zero experience selling cars I knew needed some assistance – so I thought I’d put AI to the ultimate test and get it to help me out.
I’ll be using ChatGPT to help me with this project as much as possible, and will be trying other businesses that are using AI to help me too.
It might not be able to do everything – in fact, I have no idea at this point exactly what AI can and can’t help me with – but I’ll refer to it first. This is not a gimmick, I genuinely want to see how powerful AI can be in this process.
I’m certainly no expert on AI, but I have read, like everyone else, how it will be taking over our lives and stealing our jobs faster than you can say Terminator.
But what can it actually do? How can it really help in a car dealership, and is it worth it? This isn’t about replacing car dealers – or the gut feelings and incredible knowledge that I know is so important to making these businesses a success. It’s more about seeing, with a fresh pair of eyes, where it might make some things more efficient.
I plan to try to use it for everything in the first instance and will be documenting it all for a new YouTube series, called The AI Car Dealership Project.
The first episode of that series is at the top of this post, but I’ll also be talking about it on our weekly Car Dealer Podcast and writing regular updates about it for this website.
First job will be asking AI to help me come up with a name for my new business, write a business plan, help set the company up and tell me how to sort a website.
I’m also very conscious that AI is incredibly controversial. I’ve read the horror stories, just like you probably have, but it’s coming and coming fast, so I felt it really had to be put to the test.
While I might have a little bit of knowledge about the car industry, as well as some very good contacts who I hope will help me out along the way, I importantly want this to be real.
Although I’ll be documenting my progress I want this to be a genuine business, doing things properly, making money and standing on its own two feet.
Like everyone when they start out, it’ll be small – a few cars sold from home, but I rapidly want that to build up to my own used car dealership with a forecourt and maybe even a workshop. Well, that’s if AI thinks it’s a good idea too…
I’ve seen countless examples of amazingly run car dealerships during my time writing about them – as well as judging them for our annual Used Car Awards – so I hope I can put some of their best practices into place with my new venture.
Most car dealer bosses I speak to still have no idea how AI can help in their business. The advantage for me will be I’ve never done it any other way.
I’ll be asking it to help me set up my marketing, write my car adverts, tweak my photos and even buy my stock. In fact, who knows, it might even be able to help me sell some cars.
I’ve only just started this project and can already see the opportunities are plentiful and, if anything, it’ll be an incredible story to tell along the way.
And before you ask, no ChatGPT didn’t write this for me. As a journalist, first and foremost, I think for now, it’s important that us humans still tell their own stories.
You can follow my progress on our YouTube channel. Please subscribe to be notified when new episodes are released.