November 2014

The California DMV and Dealertrack Technologies work together to serve drivers in the Golden State.


With a population of over 38 million to serve, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has its work cut out for it. To provide customers with the best experience possible, the state partners with third-party agencies. One of these agencies is Dealertrack Technologies, which provides the California DMV with electronic registration and title (ERT) and electronic lien and title (ELT) systems that connect with car dealers and other businesses performing vehicle registration and titling transactions.

These systems shift a lot of the work that would traditionally be done at a DMV to local car dealerships and Dealertrack itself. The ERT system allows dealers to take care of registration and titling from their location, with Dealertrack taking on the responsibility of validating those registrations. This means local DMVs are free to focus on other issues.

“Before this process, the dealers took the work directly to the DMV in paper bundles, and the DMV had to key in those transactions. Now we do that for them,” says Dan Cinnamon, manager of state development for Dealertrack’s Registration and Titling Solutions group. “Because we’re processing those transactions, a state like California can utilize DMV employees on other tasks.”

The ELT system similarly saves the DMV paperwork, which reduces operating costs while also providing additional fraud protection. “One value added by ELT is that you’re taking paper vehicle titles out of circulation, which helps in fighting fraud,” says Sarah Hunsicker, manager for state government affairs for Dealertrack’s Collateral Management Services group. “Electronic titles are more difficult to tamper with or title wash. Anyone can go online and pull a lender’s logo and make a fictitious lien release letter so they can apply for a duplicate title and have the lien removed. ELT is a closed loop process, which stops this from happening.”

Andrew Conway, registration policy and automation branch chief for the California DMV, similarly discusses the advantages offered by using vendors like Dealertrack. “It provides a lot of efficiency because they’re performing tasks that the state normally would,” he says. “It simplifies things for the state, because we deal with [Dealertrack] and they deal with the many people out there. It allows us to have a partner that touches thousands while we don’t have to actually touch those thousands. We have 170 offices and a large HQ processing site, but through Dealertrack and our other partners we actually have thousands of sites that customers can use for registration purposes.”

Conway also praises Dealertrack’s ability to keep abreast of new and innovative technology. “[Our partners] are typically more nimble in technology than the government, so they push the boundaries technology-wise more so than the government would be able to,” he says. “We move more slowly and rely on companies like Dealertrack to be more aggressive, while keeping the risk profile low for us. They’re also in a position to be more responsive to customer needs because they can change faster.”

And Dealertrack plans to continue making ELT and ERT systems easier to use and more efficient. “Collaboration is key and we’re always supporting the agencies’ efforts in terms of continuing to take paper out of these processes,” says Hunsicker. “The ELT and ERT are the foundation for the future of automation in this space.”