Subaru leads KBB Brand Image Awards 2nd straight year

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kelley Blue Book revealed its 2017 Brand Image Award winners on Tuesday — Subaru, Lexus and Ford took the top spots after receiving the highest average scores among 12 brand watch factors.

This year, Subaru not only took home the title of Best Overall Brand for the second consecutive year, the brand has also been named this year’s Most Trusted and Best Performance Brand.

Brand scores are based on annual new-car buyer perception data from the Kelley Blue Book Strategic Insights’ Brand Watch study that examines 12,000 plus in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on

“Superior product lineups and compelling marketing communications from automakers continue to influence consumer opinion, driving interest in particular brands, and, most importantly, positively affecting vehicle consideration,” Rick Wainschel, Kelley Blue Book vice president of customer analytics and insights said in a news release. “Many of this year’s winners continue to attract car shoppers based on a variety of brand attributes, and these standouts reinforce familiarity and loyalty among new-car buyers.”

Kelley Blue Book’s 2017 Brand Image Award winners include:

Non-Luxury Brands

  • Subaru - Best Overall Brand
  • Subaru - Most Trusted Brand
  • Honda  - Best Value Brand
  • GMC - Most Refined Brand
  • Subaru - Best Performance Brand
  • Mazda - Best Car Styling Brand

Truck Brand

  • Ford - Best Overall Truck Brand

Luxury Brands

  • Lexus - Best Overall Luxury Brand
  • Lexus - Most Trusted Luxury Brand
  • Buick - Best Value Luxury Brand
  • Mercedes-Benz - Most Refined Luxury Brand
  • Porsche - Best Performance Luxury Brand
  • Jaguar - Best Car Styling Luxury Brand

Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.

Ford is notably rated best among truck shoppers for the fourth year in a row.

“Ford has won eight out of the nine times Kelley Blue Book has announced this award with only Toyota outranking them in 2013, giving truck buyers what they want in its F-150,” Kelley Blue Book said.

For the second consecutive year, Lexus won Best Overall Luxury Brand.

“The brand is highly regarded for its strong lineup among consumers, with, the RX, ES, NX Hybrid, IS, GS and LS as the primary drivers of Lexus’ success. In addition to its top luxury award, Lexus takes home the Most Trusted Luxury Brand win for the second consecutive year,” Kelly Blue Book said.

The Strategic Insights’ Brand Watch study captures how shoppers view important factors that influence their purchase decisions.

Twelve factors Kelley Blue Book examines for the awards include: affordability, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness, safety and technology.

Click here for more information about the 2017 Brand Image Award winners.

2017 Women in Remarketing honorees

CARY, N.C. - 

In what we’re proud to call an annual tradition, Auto Remarketing publishes a special issue to recognize the leading women of the remarketing and used-car business: our Women in Remarketing issue. 

Each of the leaders honored in our Women in Remarketing program takes on different responsibilities within the industry, and the companies they represent encompass a diverse cross-section of the used-car market. Each has a unique and inspiring story to tell, both within and beyond the business world.

We would like to thank everyone who sent in Women in Remarketing nominations this year. While there are many more women worthy of recognition, we could not spotlight all the nominees, as we are only able to recognize a select few each year.

But stay tuned to Auto Remarketing e-newsletters, as we will conduct another call for nominations early next year.

Below are this year's honorees, in alphabetical order by last name:

Sarah Amico, Jack Cooper Holdings Corp. 
Julie Derybowski, TradeRev 
Ashley Dietze, San Antonio Auto Auction
Kate Eltringham, GWC Warranty
Marti Eulberg, Sonic Automotive/EchoPark Automotive
Wendy Gill, NextGear Capital 
Heather Greenawald, ADESA
Grace Huang, Manheim
Janelle Jones, Bank of America
Janelle Kennedy, Ally
Kathi Mehall, Equifax
Cynthia Meyer, Dealers Auto Auction Group
Jeanene O'Brien, Insurance Auto Auctions
Linda Paton, Greater Rockford Auto Auction
Melinda Perry GM Financial
Jessica Stafford, Cox Automotive Media Group
Amy Taitano, Manheim Pennsylvania

Check out the April 1 edition of Auto Remarketing to learn more about these outstanding industry leaders.

The 2017 Women in Remarketing class will be honored at Used Car Week, which is scheduled for Nov. 13-17 at the La Quinta Palm Springs Resort in Palm Springs, Calif. 


TIME, Ally recognize 2017 Dealer of Year


Ally and TIME held a celebration event in Kentucky on Monday to honor the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year winner — Carl Swope — a second-generation dealer who currently oversees six dealerships representing nine brands in Elizabethtown, Ky., and Radcliff, Ky.

Swope was selected from a group of 49 nominees from across the country who are successful auto dealers that demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service, Ally said.

The event was held at Swope Toyota in Elizabethtown. Business leaders from TIME and Ally joined local government officials and dealership personnel in attendance.

Ally said Swope has been chosen for his community involvement, support of civic activities, and dedication to local nonprofit organizations such as Hardin Memorial Health Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and Project United.

"On behalf of all of us at Ally, we are honored to recognize Carl Swope and his commitment to doing right and bettering the community and the state of Kentucky," Ally president of auto finance Tim Russi said in a news release. "Carl Swope embodies the character and type of leader that the Time Dealer of the Year program was built to recognize."

Swope and his family of dealerships have particularly supported the Community Health Clinic of Hardin and LaRue Counties since its founding in 2002.

In honor of Swope being named dealer of the year, Ally donated a $10,000 grant to the clinic.

"We are so grateful for Carl Swope's involvement with the Community Health Clinic of Hardin and LaRue Counties," chairman of the board of directors Dr. William Handley said. "We are elated that Carl has been chosen for this prestigious award, and we cannot thank him enough for his contribution to this organization. Day in and day out he continues to inspire and encourage thousands of community members."

Swope was first announced as the TIME Dealer of the Year at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in New Orleans on Jan. 27.

For more information about the award program, or to read about this year’s nominees, visit

GM Financial names auction of the year winners

FORT WORTH, Texas - 

General Motors Financial on Monday named the winners of its 2016 Open Sale Auction of the Year as well as its 2016 Closed Sale Auction of the Year.

Claiming the first prestigious award presented annually that’s part of the company’s nationwide Auction of the Year program, ADESA Kansas City, in Kansas City, Mo., was named as GM Financial’s 2016 Open Sale Auction of the Year

“It is always a privilege and an honor to be recognized by our customers, especially one of our long-standing partners like GM Financial,” said Stéphane St-Hilaire, president and chief executive officer of ADESA. “This award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire team at ADESA Kansas City. We are proud of their accomplishments and congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.”

GM Financial named Manheim Statesville, in Statesville, N.C., as its 2016 Closed Sale Auction of the Year.

“Being recognized by our clients for helping them meet their business goals is one of the highest compliments Manheim can receive,” said Mark Ford, regional vice president in the Southeast for Manheim.

“This award is a testament to Manheim Statesville’s commitment to delivering top-notch client service and sales results," Ford continued. "We are honored to receive this award, and we are so very proud of our team members who earned it.”

The consignor highlighted that 2016 marks the second year GM Financial has recognized two winners — one for open and one for closed sale performance. Recipients were chosen after reviewing each of the company’s 48 auction partners’ performance in customer service, marketing promotions, pre-sale activities and overall auction success.

“The auctions that we are recognizing with these awards produce outstanding results each and every sale throughout the year. They are committed to creating an excellent customer experience and take significant pride in what they are able to accomplish each and every day,” said Brad Bollman, vice president of GM Financial Remarketing.

DRIVIN set to ring Nasdaq's Closing Bell


DRIVIN recently announced that on Monday it will be joining the Chicago Innovation Awards — an annual celebration of innovation success in the region — to ring the Closing Bell of the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York.

The Chicago Innovation Awards said it arranged the event to emphasize the rise of innovation within the Chicago region, as well as compliment various organizations that make up its dynamic economy.

"This annual event is an excellent example of how the Chicago Innovation Awards celebrates the spirit of innovation in organizations across all industries, sizes and sectors," Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder of the Chicago Innovation Awards, said in a news release.

Earlier this year, the company launched DRIVIN Marketplace, its intelligent platform for used car dealers to sell, buy, and search used car inventory for their lot.

The company launched in 2015 and is powered by CarCo Technologies.

"DRIVIN is proud to be honored among the top minds, problem-solvers and innovators in Chicago," Justin Mahlik, co-founder and chief operations officer of DRIVIN said. "DRIVIN has been committed to reinventing the wholesale process for used car dealers across the country. We look forward to continuing our momentum and making the dealership more efficient and profitable."

Other winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, include: alligatortek, Baxter, Blue1647, CancerIQ, ContextMedia, Danco, Edovo, Federal Signal, ForeverCar, FourKites, Girls in the Game, HubTran, Infiniscene, Leap Innovations, Livingston Products, Modobag, One Million Degrees, Page Vault, Proxfinity, Radio Flyer, Real Food Blends, Shoe Drop and The Mom Project.

To hear more information about the award recipients, watch their video testimonials provided by the Chicago Innovation Awards.

Peer-to-peer car sales app expands into Texas & claims SXSW accolade

AUSTIN, Texas - 

Coinciding with the launch of its tool in Texas, Blinker — which contends it offers the only mobile app that allows people to buy, sell, finance or refinance their vehicle by simply snapping a photo — was selected as a winner of the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Innovation Awards.

Blinker was picked from hundreds of applicants around the world for the SXSW awards that honor the “best and latest advancements in the digital industry.” Blinker said it was recognized this week for its creativity, form, function and overall experience in the “New Economy" category, which is awarded to the brand that is best “redefining the exchange of goods and services.”

Blinker is led by John Elway Dealers and Summit Automotive Partners founder Rod Buscher.

“Blinker is honored to receive the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award. Blinker isn't just a new car app — it’s a whole new approach to car ownership,” said Buscher, who is now chief executive officer of Blinker. “Blinker uses technology to put people in control of car ownership in the same way that Airbnb revolutionized their industry. No banks or dealers which means no extra fees or markups.”

After launching in its home state of Colorado back in September, Blinker made its services available in Texas this week, too. Blinker can verify ownership records and buyer and seller identities, handles payments through the app, conducts a 17-point fraud check and offers a free Carfax Vehicle History Report with every listing.

Furthermore, Blinker integrates Black Book pricing guidance, ensures the seller receives payment securely and transfers the title electronically. Blinker also can allow people to sell their vehicle even if they still have an outstanding installment contract.

Blinker thinks it’s made the process of refinancing a vehicle easier than ever. Owners can download the Blinker app, snap a photo of their car and driver’s license and answer a few finance-related questions. Blinker instantly can display new monthly payment and cash back options, if applicable.

To finalize their new Blinker contract, owners can sign documents directly in the app. Blinker specialists can handle all the paperwork and pay off their existing contract. Owners can reach Blinker finance specialists by phone or email for help.

“We offer car loans that are competitive, transparent and easy to complete from anywhere — all in the Blinker app. Car owners can refinance an existing loan in minutes — all on their mobile device. No banks, no dealerships,” Buscher said.

Blinker, which has grown to include 54 full-time employees, added that it will be expanding into other states in 2017.

Cox Automotive marketing chief Kovac receives lifetime achievement award


Last week, Cox Automotive executive vice president and chief marketing officer John Kovac accepted a lifetime achievement award from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) in recognition of his long-standing record of marketing achievements throughout his career.

Kovac was presented with his award at the 60th annual AMY Awards gala on Thursday at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

“At Cox Automotive, we pride ourselves on teamwork and collaboration, so to me, this award represents the ingenuity and creative thinking of the hundreds of Cox Automotive marketing team members and agency partners that continue to push boundaries and innovate for our brands,” Kovac said in a news release. “I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of our entire team.” 

Kovac is known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his “make it happen” approach, the AMA said.

Currently, he leads more than 400 global marketing team members who are responsible for over 25 brands, including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Manheim, Dealertrack and

His 18-year career with Cox Automotive started when he became one of Autotrader's founding employees.

Kovac lead brand development and helped to oversee the production of Autotrader's first advertising campaign, “I Need a Car.”

Autotrader became a leading car shopping site under his leadership. The third-party car shopping site currently has more than 18 million unique visitors each month, according to the AMA.

“John continually demonstrates remarkable leadership and passion in everything he does,” said Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive.

“He embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that our company was built on. To have our most senior marketing leader recognized by the American Marketing Association is a tremendous honor — not just for John but for our entire organization.”

The AMA’s other honorees included local companies and agencies in 20 plus categories such as advertising, branding, digital marketing, analytics, market research and data visualization.

To view the full list of award winners, visit

Auto companies make Fortune top workplace list

CARY, N.C. - 

Fortune magazine has released its 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and several companies familiar to the remarketing space made the cut. 

CarMax, for one, was named to the list  for the 13th consecutive year.

The used-car retailer ranks number 77 on this year’s list.

Currently, CarMax is looking to fill more than 2,000 positions — both full and part-time, and day and evening shifts — across the country.

“CarMax is unique and different because of our associates,” said Bill Nash, CarMax chief executive officer, in a news release. “Their dedication and drive to not only support the customer, but each other, is what makes CarMax a great place to work.”

ARI, others also on list

Global fleet services provider ARI was also named to Fortune’s list, for the fifth consecutive year.

Ranked at number 38, the company was recognized for its culture and family-like atmosphere, as well as its emphasis on wellness and work/life balance, and focus on employee development.

“Being named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for a fifth consecutive year is an incredible honor,” Chris Conroy, president and CEO of Holman Business Services and president of ARI, said in a news release. “But make no mistake — the credit for this tremendous achievement belongs solely with our people.

“They are the ones who make ARI such an incredible place to work year after year,” he continued. “It is our people who devote themselves to ensuring our clients are not just happy customers, but rather become raving fans of our organization.”

Also on the list are Capital One (17), USAA (35), Credit Acceptance (43) and JM Family Enterprises (55). 

The full list of companies can be found here.

Editor's Note: Updated to include JM Family Enterprises. 


6 auctions receive honors from CPS


Subprime auto finance company Consumer Portfolio Services recently announced its top performing auctions for 2016.

The event, attended by the 2016 winners along with CPS remarketing manager Mike Scott and senior vice president of asset recovery Laurie Straten, was held at the CAR Convention last week in Las Vegas.

Award winners for 2016 are as follows:

—CPS Top Gun Award (Best Overall Auction): ABC Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala.

—CPS Heavy Hammer Award (Best Sales Retention): Tie between 166 Auto Auction, Springfield, Mo., and North Bay Auto Auction, Fairfield, Calif.

—CPS Operational Excellence Award: ABC Toledo, Perrysburg, Ohio

—CPS Online Sales Award: Manheim Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.

—CPS Top Gun Award (CPS small market): ADESA Seattle, Auburn, Wash.

“CPS would like to thank all of their partner auctions on a productive 2016 and look forward to an exciting 2017,” the company said.

Manheim Orlando honored for community service


Manheim Orlando, one of the largest operating facilities of Manheim North America, was recently named Big Business of the Year by the Orlando Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the location’s local economic impact and the team’s dedication to community service.

The Orlando Chamber of Commerce presented the Manheim Orlando team with its Big Business of the Year award at the organization’s Big Orange Awards on Feb. 6.

“To be recognized for investing in our community and for doing what we enjoy as a team is quite an honor,” Manheim Orlando general manager Butch Herdegen said in a news release.

“We are always looking for opportunities to partner with people and organizations that make a difference for families who live and work in Orlando, and we’ll continue to serve others in 2017.”

Last year, Manheim Orlando supported Christmas in July, Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, the Epilepsy Association of Central Florida, Orlando Science Center, Christian Service Center, the YMCA and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

The team was also recognized by the Orlando Chamber of Commerce for partnering with Ben’s Maintenance, Mike’s Security and Danny’s Outside Ops to host the Chamber’s Hob Nob and Straw Poll event.

About 350 full-time and part-time members make up the Manheim Orlando team.

According to Manheim, an estimated 3,300 independent, franchise and commercial dealers visit the 286-acre location weekly, and it facilitates more than $3 billion in wholesale automotive transactions annually.