For luxury car maker Automobili Lamborghini, validating the authenticity and heritage of each individual car is a critical component for company success.
When customers want to find out the heritage of their car to gets its value or put it on the market, they are offered an authentication process that starts with arranging shipping of their car to headquarters for inspection and back to the original or new customer.
The problem was, to get a Lamborghini vehicle properly authenticated involved an arduous, often manual-based process. Automobili Lamborghini had paper-based records, which are now digitalized, accounting for 95% of all Lamborghinis built since its launch in 1963, so the information is almost all there to validate the originality of any given vehicle; the issue was, it took several months to get to that point.
This is because, when a Lamborghini is resold, the vehicle can go through anything from 800 to 1,000 certification checks. As all these need to take place at the Lamborghini headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, the start of the process entails the customer being connected with the right shipping agent, and then arranging transportation and then getting the car to HQ to carry out all the checks.
Once there, Lamborghini technicians have to work with a huge network of resources, including photographers, auction houses, dealerships, repair shops, newspapers and magazines, to be able to curate the full history of that particular car, and verify all of the parts and services.
However, this service is crucial for customers and the company, as its allows them to preserve the originality of the car – and keeping the vehicle as near to original means a higher value, which can be in the region of $2 million to $3 million. Paolo Gabrielli, Head of After Sales at Automobili Lamborghini, explains:
The value of a luxury heritage car, it’s the authenticity. Original is the car when it was produced, authentic means it’s kept the same specification, the same shape, and what’s been installed during the life of the car is using genuine spare parts.
We like to understand which are the parts from when it was built, which parts are replaced, and which are not exactly not genuine but are perfectly aligned with our specification.
Gabrielli points out that restoring the authenticity of the car means any new or spare parts need to bring it to as close to the original specification as possible. However, this was taking in the region of 3,000 to 4,000 hours of work to ensure the parts all have the right serial number, and the car has everything from the same leather to the original logo.
The certification part of the process was also very time-consuming, as the company needs to report back to the customer with a full breakdown of each part of the car that was replaced or restored, and share this information in a trusted and secure way.
But this is all a process worth doing, as the outcome is that the customer has a higher-value vehicle, as it is certified as authentic by Automobili Lamborghini. Gabrielli says:
We have some data showing more or less an increase of 20% - 25%t before and after the certification. When you are speaking about a $2 million car, the increase is really important.
Automobili Lamborghini is now using Salesforce Blockchain to make this authentication process quicker and more secure, aimed at giving a better customer experience and maintaining the value of heritage vehicles. The technology lets Lamborghini digitize the authentication process by creating a trusted network among technicians, repair shops, dealerships and other involved parties.
Blockchain is designed to offer a new way of ensuring trust and transparency, with every player involved in the ‘chain’ given a secure, verified copy of the data. This data is tamper-proof as any changes are immediately logged to that particular party and visible to everyone.
However, getting every party along the chain, and future parties that might need to be involved, on board has traditionally been a sticking point for blockchain, as it requires heavy-duty data integration work at each point. According to Salesforce, its blockchain approach is based on clicks, not code, meaning a much quicker set-up process rather than having to build lines and lines of code, and also the ability to integrate players that aren’t using Salesforce applications.
Automobili Lamborghini has named its blockchain system Sicura – safety in Italian. Sicura is the layer connecting every party together in a seamless way – dealers, logistics companies, auction houses and the car maker itself – so that information can be collected and shared quickly and with a guarantee of trust. The typical timeframe for an auction house to validate a car used to be three to six months; with Sicura in place, this can now come down to a matter of days.
From a customer perspective, they can download an app, which lets them request a certification or book car transport, all done on top of the secure blockchain platform. All partners in the chain are now able to access real-time, trusted information, so everyone can track progress at each step along the journey, although this can be restricted by individual account so only certain parties get to see certain data.
Once authentication is complete, this data is stored and available to the current and all future owners of the vehicle, and it can also be downloaded as a secure, verified PDF – each download via the blockchain is tied to a unique hash or fingerprint that can only be accessed once the hash is validated.