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Illinois plugged in to process plates, registrations electronically

November 23, 2010

Miles Chevrolet in Decatur last week became the first Illinois dealership equipped to provide title and registration and renewal services to its customers at the dealership. Hundreds more are signed up to offer the new services. Computerized Vehicle Registration counts Illinois as the 19th state it has helped shepherd into the electronic registration era. Officials of CVR touted the new program at presentations across the state last week, including at the CATA on Oct. 7. John Roeder of CVR described a p r o g r a m that is all u p s i d e : dealers can realize a new revenue stream from the service, customers get their new license plates immediately, and the offices of the secretary of state and the revenue department get paid quicker. "Everybody wins with this program," Roeder said. Like the state's documentary service fee, charges for any electronic vehicle registrations cannot exceed certain amounts: $25 for title and registration ($17.75 net profit for dealer) and $7.25 for registration renewal ($4.75 net profit for dealer). CVR charges dealers $7.25 and $2.50, respectively, for those services, as well as $2.00 for any inquiries to determine, for instance, if a co-owner is titled on a vehicle or if a lien exists. Roeder said a dealer who sells 100 cars a month potentially could earn another $1,775 a month, or $21,300 a year if all the customers elect to pay for the electronic registration. It is an optional service, but 90 percent of customers in Wisconsin want that service, he said. Dealers must use a Windows-based personal computer and a laser printer to operate CVR's software. The software should be compatible with other dealer programs; CVR is owned by Reynolds and Reynolds and ADP. Charges to dealers in the program include the transaction costs listed above, and a $500 installation fee and $50 a month for support. CVR would install and maintain the user systems, and train and re-train the title clerks and F&I manager. Dealers would be equipped with a supply of license plates and renewal stickers. That inventory is maintained by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, a partner in the program. Supplies can be reordered automatically when inventories are low. Patrick Tallon, CVR's director of product marketing, said the new program helps overcome many headaches, such as customers who say "I'm buying  the car today and I'm leaving the state tomorrow." State forms VSD-190 and ST-556 are generated automatically and forwarded electronically to the proper agencies, and payment funds are transferred by CVR. A customer's ST-556 copy would not show information like the retailer's allowance and the transaction's net tax paid. A downside to the program? "If the secretary of state," said Tallon, "mis-keys something, they have to correct it. If you mis-key something, be prepared to write a $65 check to correct it. If you're entering the information, who do you have to blame?"

 

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