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Jake Maki

Jake has been working in the Automotive industry, with a focus on creating vehicle data and VIN decoding solutions, since 2007.
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Recent Posts

How Accurate VIN Decoding Can Drive Used Car Sales Online


In the effort to turn a lead into a car sale, the most important thing a used car dealer can do is inspire trust. The customer buying the vehicle is considering an expensive purchase, and is looking for reliability and predictability in the automobile they seek to buy.  More then likely, they are also a little distrustful of the sales process and looking for ways to "protect" themselves from getting taken advantage of.  

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Ford's Focus Leads to Top Selling Global Vehicle


It wasn't too many years ago that the continued existence of American car manufacturing was in peril.  All of the Detroit 3 looked weak and ready to tumble amidst an unstable and receding US economy.  Sales were down across the industry, but even more so among the US manufacturers.  Brand consideration and perceived quality were remarkably low among the few new vehicle purchasers that were out there searching for a new car.  Fuel prices were rising quickly and none of the US manufacturers had a strong offering in the small car segment. Chrysler and GM had to accept bailouts from the US Government to survive while Ford narrowly avoided having to do so.  What a difference four years make.

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VIN vs PIN - What is being assigned to Off-Road vehicles


Since 1981 the global vehicle manufacturing community has used the 17 digit VIN as a means to uniquely identify a vehicle.  The VIN captures basic vehicle information as part of an international standard, and in some countries, like the US, it is used to capture additional data. In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is tasked with regulating the information the VIN must capture, how it is assigned and to whom.  Some of the many benefits of the VIN system include being able to identify and recall vehicles with safety issues, track vehicle's accident and maintenance history, and identify vehicles that have been stolen.

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Topics: Automotive Data, VIN, Safety, Powersports


10 Best Practices for Displaying Vehicle Data to Mobile Car Buyers



Any type of mobile marketing strategy requires presenting information in small “bites.”  When it comes to advertising to auto consumers, whether they are researching vehicles or actively shopping inventory, the vehicle information presented needs to be optimized to the mobile experience.  

 Creating an experience that can support inventory or generic vehicle search, research or comparison for a mobile visitor is a difficult task.  There are a large variety of vehicles and brand out there.  In addition, there many different valuable features and options that can be installed on these vehicle.  These can be key drivers in the consideration and purchase and must be included in a successful mobile approach.  These factors all contribute to make displaying the necessary detail to power mobile research and shopping solutions for perspective car buyers is a significant challenge.  

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Topics: Mobile


Horse branding and VIN cloning: Why thieves steal vehicles identities


One day many, many years ago someone got the idea to jump on the back of a horse and ride it rather then walk everywhere they needed to go.  Not long after, someone else got the idea that they too would like to ride rather then walk.  However, they decided that they would rather steal a horse then pay for their own.  From that moment forward, while what we are ride has changed from horses, to wagons to motorized vehicles, one thing has remained constant:  A small group of people have been motivated to steal peoples rides, while owners have been motivated to find ways to protect their investment.

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Topics: Insurance


Why You Shouldn't Settle for a VIN Decoder That Just Decodes the VIN


In our VIN Decoding 101 series of articles we have focused on which vehicles are required to have 17-digit VIN numbers assigned and what data is and is not captured within the VIN.  We have seen that country of sale, vehicle segment and type, model year and manufacturer all play a big role in the usefulness of VIN decoding and the type and depth of vehicle details the VIN will encode.  For many applications a basic VIN decode, one that decodes only what is encoded in the VIN, will provide all the details that your business needs.  However, there are also many common VIN decoder applications where there is need and substantial benefits for more detail, as much as possible.  How can this need be met?

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Topics: VIN


Mobile Is Not the Next Big Thing for Dealers



I was reading an interesting article on-line today about Apple's sales in 2011.  It noted that Mac sales are rising fast and that 2011 was the best year ever for Mac sales.  "Somewhat interesting, I guess", you say.  But hear is the interesting part: In 2011 alone Apple sold more iOS devices then it has sold Macs over their 28 year existence. Granted Macs have not been the most popular computer over the years but the fact that iOS devices outsold 28 years of the Mac in a single year is pretty remarkable.  It is just further evidence that mobile is not the next big thing, it has become the current big thing and only is continuing to grow.

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Topics: Mobile


10 Vehicle Details Not Decoded By The VIN Pattern


If you were alive in the late 1980s or early 1990s and heard mention of the spaghetti sauce brand "Prego," you almost certainly will think of their catch phrase "It's in there!" No matter what desired ingredient was asked about in Prego's TV adds, the response was, of course, "It's in there!"

We often have potential customers approach us hoping to determine a specific detail or attribute of the vehicle using only the vehicle identification number (VIN). Decoding a VIN can return a large amount of useful information. However, there are still many vehicle details that can't be determined from a basic decode of the VIN Pattern alone. In other words, they are not all in there.

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Topics: VIN


Exceptions to the VIN Decoding Rules


If you have read any of our other articles on VIN decoding you know already that the VIN pattern has certain information that it is required to contain in the US and Canada.  However, if you acquire and review a VIN file, like VIN Basic, you will come across exceptions to even these basic rules.  Here are a couple of VIN rules exceptions that have lead to questions from our customers in the past.

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Topics: Support, Automotive Data, VIN


10 Vehicle Details You Should Expect from a VIN Decoder



It is not uncommon for some of the people that express interest in our VIN data to have little experience with automotive data in the past.  They may be new to the company, position or they may be looking to apply an existing business model in a new way that requires a VIN decoder or vehicle data. Many times these people are not quite sure what to expect to get in return from decoding 17 digit VINs. Below are a list of 10 things that you can expect to be returned when decoding US Passenger and Light-Duty Vehicle Identification Numbers.

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Topics: Logistics, Automotive Data, Vehicle, VIN, Auto Manufacturers, Vehicle Equipment