Dealerweb has announced the appointment of Heather Upchurch as its chief technology officer, overseeing all technology activities.

Upchurch joins from e-payment software firm Cardstream, where she served as technical director. Prior to that, Upchurch held senior IT roles at Volvo and Aston Martin before joining Flybe as IT director.

“I’m joining Dealerweb at an exciting time in its development,” said Upchurch. “The company has built a reputation on offering some of the most innovative software in the industry, and I’m looking forward to working on Dealerweb’s continued technological advancements.”

Martin Hill, chief executive of Dealerweb, added: “Having recently launched new products, adopted ISO-accredited security processes and begun the roll-out of our completely re-engineered Dealerweb Showroom system, Heather’s appointment will provide an experienced leader to oversee these developments and ensure our commitment and passion for technology remains at the forefront for years to come.”

Recent research from Dealerweb found that finance penetration rates at UK dealerships have increased, despite continuing economic uncertainties. The research found that penetration rates rose from 79% to 80% for new vehicles year-on-year, and from 44% to 47% for used.

“A recent survey showed consumer sentiment in Britain fell to its lowest point in more than five years in March,” said Hill. “It is clear that automotive retail is not immune to these headwinds, but dealers are reacting with structured sales programmes to minimise the impact.

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“Used sales continue to provide a valued and robust revenue stream for dealers with revenues rising in March, in a tough market. Finance penetration continues to rise for used sales and provides a strong revenue opportunity as this market continues to evolve.”

Founded in 2013, Dealerweb offers showroom management systems to help dealers sell more vehicles. The primary product Showroom enables dealers to manage leads, configure vehicles, build customer orders and administer vehicle finance from one platform.