Online Wholesale Environment

Philly investment firm sends resources to MyDealerOnline

LANGHORNE, Pa. - 

MyDealerOnline, whose software lets dealers take wholesale vehicles and places them on the dealership websites, recently announced that Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania has invested in the company to bring more exposure to its multi-faceted dealership solution platform.

Executives highlighted the late seed round will make it possible for auctions on MyDealerOnline.com to get more exposure, while individuals will be able to access a wider selection of vehicle  at competitive prices through trusted local dealers. The investment makes MyDealerOnline part of Ben Franklin’s portfolio of greater Philadelphia-based high-growth technology companies.

Meanwhile, MyDealerOnline is still offering an opportunity to investors to add to the current round of investment.

“We are pleased to partner with Ben Franklin and their dedication to helping early stage companies,” MyDealerOnline founder and chief executive officer Yury Kaganov said. “Their due diligence and subsequent investment continue to validate MyDealerOnline's business model and value to our marketplace.”

MyDealerOnline’s multi-faceted solution can help dealerships drive sales, increase marketing effectiveness and gain intelligent customer insights by giving them the ability to offer wholesale inventory directly to customers through their current dealership websites. The Inventory-as-a-Service platform does not require additional funds or floor-plan costs typically involved with physical inventory for a dealership. The platform also improves the acquisition process, revenue potential, and customer satisfaction rates with one solution. 

For more information about the investment deal, visit this website

Enhanced online used-car parts marketplace launches

FLORENCE, Ala. - 

PartCycle Technologies recently introduced an upgraded online used-car-parts platform (PartCycle.com) designed to give dealers an efficient way to get the parts they need for their service/parts customers.

The company offers an online recycled auto parts marketplace. 

In a news release, the company gives the example of University Toyota in Tuscumbia, Ala.,  which since integrating PartCycle into its service operations, has been able to make more service transactions.

The dealership credits PartCycle’s offerings for its recent growth because they have been able to get quality low-cost OEM parts options, and that pleases customers.

"We see customers who need to fix their car, but simply cannot afford the new part cost," University Auto Family fixed operations director Owen Kilmury said in a news release.

"Some customers have had to forego the recommended repair service because of part cost. PartCycle allows a dealership to retain a customer that we otherwise would have lost due to the price of certain new parts. The customer gets a quality part, at a fraction of the price, and the dealership retains a customer that otherwise would have been lost," he said.

PartCycle currently has over 4 million parts in stock and carries an inventory sourced from 55-plus professional automotive recycler locations across the U.S.

"We get all the options we need in a single PartCycle search," said parts manager Chris Britt of University Toyota. "I've spent the better part of a day just waiting on callbacks for parts, but with PartCycle I find what I need quickly and easily, then can include those options in customer quotes. Then they can get what they need for their vehicle."

Additionally, PartCycle currently offers free shipping, standard 180-day warranty coverage and 30-day returns on all parts.

Mobile auctions continue to evolve & attract dealers

CARY, N.C. - 

 As the mobile auction format continues to attract more dealers across the country, companies within the industry are continuing to push the wholesale auction experience and communicate the benefits that many used-car managers praise.

“We’re averaging well over 60 mobile auctions per month around the country right now, and that’s a huge increase from just barely over 20 a year and a half ago,” said Manheim’s Randy Beil. “Our core product is what we call true mobile; that is where we bring either a trailer or a bus fully equipped to handle an auction, simulcast, and an auctioneer.”

Beil, who is vice president of local/mobile at Manheim, said a large part of what he and his team does is to grow Manheim into different markets across the country where the company might not already have a presence.

“What we’re really trying to do is create a model to get into these markets, partner with dealers we already do business with and try to get more of their low-end business,” Beil said. “That’s exactly what we’ve done largely in our growth in the past year and a half.”

He said Manheim has been able to get in many cities through existing partnerships with dealer groups.

The company’s mobile sales are launched by two different platforms it refers to as true mobile and mini mobile. True mobile is its largest and core product.

“You get 100 percent of what you see in the auction but you bring it to the dealership, so we bring the auction to the dealership, and that’s what we call true mobile because that’s exactly the core of our product,” Beil said.

“We bring that auction to the dealership and we largely sell their trade-ins from that store or four or five stores at that auction. Some locations host sales once a week, sometimes we do it every other week, sometimes we do it once a month. It all depends on the volume that dealership has.”

Manheim has been expanding its mini mobile product over the past six months, according to Beil.

What differentiates them from a true mobile is it’s much more of a permanent auction, such as a two, three or four-lane facility.

“This is a basically a full on auction as far as a dealer is concerned, often it’s a one, two, three-lane auction that we get into a market and we open up a small auction and it’s a stand-alone auction for all practical purposes, but internally from our standpoint it’s kind of like a satellite auction because its’s still managed by a parent auction,” he said.

“We rely on the parent auction’s staff to help support the functions of the satellite auction.”

Of all the cars Manheim sells at its mini locations, all of the revenue and all of the expenses flow up to that parent auction.

“We brand them and we market them, we advertise them, it’s a stand-alone auction that looks a like just an others,” Beil said.

Mini mobile auctions bring in about 40 to 50 different sellers to each sale, while true mobile is usually one consigner, according to Beil.

The fundamentals of mobile

Digital technology is a fundamental resource mobile actions depend on, says Ryan Rickey, general manager of XLerate Group’s Your Auction Mobile sales.

“Traditional brick-and-mortar, where dealers go in and can check out cars week-in and week-out, sometimes these mobile auctions have a greater travel time. Rickey said. “We depend on the internet and our marketing tools via the internet so people can check out extensive pictures, pre-sale inspections — things of that nature, just to give them the confidence to bid online and or show up in person.”

Your Auction Mobile’s sales allow dealers managers to remain in their stores and focus on retail as opposed to running the “gauntlet of auctions,” he said.

“In today’s climate, post the recession, secondary lending became more aggressive and dealers started holding on to that c-paper. Having the auction onsite gives you a chance to potentially retail some of those vehicles you'd otherwise be wholesaling weekly,” Rickey said.

Taking it to a higher level

Auctions In Motion (AIM) started in 2006, as a completely mobile sale. It was purchased by what is now known as XLerate in in 2012.

“We literally went to the dealers’ lots and we would set up our pop-up tent along with a couple of trailers that would support the auction,” said George Pero, AIM founder and general manager at Corry Auto Dealers Exchange, an XLerate auction.

“The business gained momentum,” Pero continued. “First it was a bi-weekly sale and then it was a weekly sale and then it gained so much attention and critical mass business that we thought that the next step in progressing the expansion and growth of the business was to get a single free-standing facility where we would run a one-lane auction.”

When asked about any challenges associated with mobile sells, Pero said: “Challenges really aren’t that many or significant; I would say running out of space when you have a lot of consignment.

“For consignment, for a one-lane mobile sale is 150 to 200 units, they become so popular that we run out of space.”

Challenges remain

The challenges associated with mobile sales are similar to those of any auction, according to Jane Morgan, who is president of specialty auction divisions at ADESA and oversees mobile auction offerings and helps in geographic expansions.

“Educating dealers on how mobile sales work, why they should try mobile sales, and how mobile sales can benefit their business may be considered a challenge,” Morgan said.

Space may be a challenge, depending on the size of a dealer’s lot or the type of inventory, like if it is a mobile auction for heavy-duty trucks, for example.

Mobile auctions entails working with the seller to select their inventory in advance so it’s competitive in the marketplace, Morgan explained

She said selecting inventory far enough in advance is important to allow time to best match the right buyer to the right product.

Rickey added that a challenge he recognizes is larger competitors within the industry. “As an auction company, you see groups such as the larger groups in the industry — AutoNations, CarMaxes, they’re figuring out ways to do it themselves,” he said.

“The margins I think, are getting skinnier,” Rickey went on to say. “Profitability has to change, we just need to be aggressive and provide a service above and beyond our competition.”

 

ACV Auctions adds 8 more markets to online footprint

BUFFALO, N.Y. - 

Mobile wholesale marketplace ACV Auctions on Monday announced an expansion into eight new markets.

Building on the half dozen ACV already occupied, the company now has a presence in:

—Southern New Jersey
—Roanoke, Va.
—Hartford, Conn.
—Boston
—Cincinnati
—Louisville, Ky.
—Nashville, Tenn.
—Charlotte, N.C.

The push builds on ACV’s existing operations in other U.S. markets, including: all of Upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Northern New Jersey, Northeast Ohio and Washington D.C. 

In preparation for its ongoing expansion, ACV also announced plans to hire more than 100 employees in these new markets and within its headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. To help bolster hiring across all job categories, ACV on Monday released its first recruitment video, which highlights the company’s position in the online auto auction space. The video can be viewed at the top of this page or by going here.

“With this video, we are broadcasting that we are hiring competitive people to be part of our fast growing team. If you have a passion for cars and a true desire to win, grow and excel, we want to hear from you,” said ACV Auctions chief executive officer George Chamoun.

Chamoun emphasized the hiring push is being driven almost exclusively by ACV’s accelerated growth.

“To keep up with demand and keep serving our customers well, we need to continually grow our team,” Chamoun said. “We are aggressively investing in the best people we can find.”

ACV’s advanced mobile platform can enable dealers to view, bid and purchase used car inventory via online auctions. Dealers can select the type of vehicle they wish to purchase and ACV sends an alert to the dealer’s mobile phone when vehicles become available and a live auction follows.

Auctions are conducted from dealer lots and last just 20 minutes. 

ACV’s end-to-end solution includes a detailed condition report. Additionally, the ACV app handles payments, title transfers and transportation arrangements for purchased vehicles.  

Online auction to host Mustangs vs. Camaros sale

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 

Speed Digital announced it will partner with HemmingsPRO Auctions to host a battle more than 50 years in the making: Mustangs versus Camaros. 

On May 26, the new partners will bring collectors and enthusiasts a Mustangs versus Camaros sale, the first of a series of monthly themed, timed online auctions.

This event will help settle the long-standing rivalry between the two sporsts car brands and determine which American classic is truly most popular, Speed Digital said. 

"We look forward to bringing this unique auction format to millions of Mustang and Camaro fans," Speed Digital president Neil Pitt said in a news release. "It will be exciting to see which fan base has a stronger showing. Will a Mustang or Camaro bring in the highest winning bid? Will more Mustangs find new homes or will it be Camaros? Only time will tell, but it will be fun to watch it all unfold on May 26."  

Mustangs and Camaros from 1964 to 2017 will be included in the auction and all inventory will be provided by dealers within Speed Digital's Dealer Accelerate network.

Interested buyers can currently bid at hemmings.speeddigital.com. The timed online auction will close on the night of May 26.

During the live auction, a 2017 Petty's Garage King Premier Edition Mustang powered by a 5.0L V-8 engine producing 825 HP will be auctioned off at 7 p.m.

The customized car signed by Richard Petty himself comes in the Petty's Garage signature limited "ghost series" black and silver paint scheme. According to Speed Digital, the proceeds from the sale of the car will go to charity.

"The Petty's Garage Mustang won't be the only vehicle drawing interest during the Mustangs vs. Camaros online auction. You would be hard-pressed to find more premier Mustangs and Camaros in another auction," Speed Digital added. "Two of the most sought-after vehicles that will have bidders reaching for their wallets include a 1969 Ford Mustang estimated to go between $236,000 and $355,000 at the auction and a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro COPO."

Other sought after cars include the 1968 Shelby GT500, the 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS, which are estimated to go for $133,000 to $187,000, $99,000 to $134,000 and $90,000 to $122,000, respectively, according to Speed Digital.

For more information about the upcoming auction email Bentley@speeddigital.com or visit hemmings.speeddigital.com.

7 European execs chosen for Remarketing Advisory Board

BARCHON, Belgium - 

In an effort to enhance the fourth Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum coming later this year, seven European wholesale market executives have been named to the Remarketing Advisory Board.

Helping to craft the agenda and more for the event that’s set for Dec. 5 in in Estoril, Portugal, will be this group that represents rental and lease companies, an automaker, an auction company and a pan-European trade organization. According to an announcement from Fleet Europe, the board includes:

—Pierre-Olivier Bard, Remarketing Director Europe for the Avis Budget Group.

—Ingo Schlosser, International Remarketing Manager at ALD Automotive.

—Ralf Kostrewa, Head of Sales International at Volkswagen Group Fleet International.

—Morten Holmsten, Global Sales Director at Autorola.

—Roland Gagel, Vice President Field Services at SGS.

—Wolfgang Reinhold, President of the European Car Remarketing Association CARA.

—David Baudeweyns, Sales & Business Development at Nexus Communication, parent company of Fleet Europe.

The announcement indicated the Remarketing Advisory Board has already had its first (virtual) meeting, defining current remarketing trends and exploring possible topics for the next Remarketing Forum in Estoril.

“This structured approach will ensure an even better fit between the content of the conference and the concerns of the industry,” officials said.

“The final agenda of the Remarketing Forum will be fine-tuned via future meetings, meanwhile allowing members of the Advisory Board to reflect and consult the wider industry,” they continued.

Manheim enhances website and mobile app

ATLANTA - 

Manheim announced on Thursday it updated its website and mobile app with new time-saving services and tools it will demonstrate at the NADA convention next week.

Manheim.com and the Manheim mobile app now allows clients to simultaneously manage their business across multiple Manheim locations and access more services on-demand.

“With these new capabilities on Manheim.com and our mobile app, our clients will have more control to do business how they want, when they want and where they want to get back to their core business faster,” Manheim senior vice president of inventory services Grace Huang said in a news release.

Dealers can build customized reports to track and follow their transactions as well as receive real-time updates on account status, titles, inspections and arbitrations.

“In the past, after making a purchase, I would have to go wait in line to pay for the vehicle and arrange transportation. Now, I can do it on my mobile phone,” said Oscar Mendez, a dealer at GS Auto Sales in New Orleans.

“Not having the app before, I did not realize exactly how much time I would save. Now I am actually getting out of the auction at least an hour earlier.”

Manheim clients need to refresh their personal preferences and notification options on Manheim.com to access the new updates as they become available.

IAS acquires stake in AuctionVcommerce

COLUMBUS, Ohio  - 

Integrated Auction Solutions said Sunday it has acquired an ownership stake in AuctionVcommerce, a company that provides online infrastructure support services that launched at Used Car Week 2015.

The company declined to disclose the exact percentage of ownership it acquired.

In a news release, IAS said that AuctionVcommerce will be brought into the IAS family but will maintain its “agnostic” approach to providing services to auctions.

“Our goal to improve the credibility of online auto auctions is industry-wide, not technology-specific,” AVC president and co-founder Kelly Bianchi said in a news release. “Our concern is for the sustainability of the traditional auto auction in the virtual space.”

Since its launch, AVC has added an Online Clerk Simulation and Certification Training System that aim to make online bidding more stable, reduce block errors and help clerks foster online participation.

Integrated Auction Services plans to offer AVC to its customers to help them drive their online business. IAS also plans to utilize AVC for product testing and feedback.

“AuctionVcommerce provides the solution that Independent Auto Auctions need to address their lack of resources at an affordable cost. AVC brings the dealer experience into focus, and it’s a perspective that we all need to be acquainted with on a daily basis. We feel that this service will increase the ROI for any online operation,” Peter Levy, vice president of sales and business development of Integrated Auction Solutions, said in a news release.

He added: “AuctionVCommerce augments the AWG product suite by enhancing the user experience through best practices and subject matter training. The AVC training creates confidence in the technology and promotes a culture of reliability.”

Bob Hollenshead, co-founder of AuctionVcommerce, added: “Our in-lane business has evolved to the point that over 90 percent of our 30,000 annual sales are touched by an Internet bidder, which includes units from $200 to $300,000. Simulcast auctions are less sensitive to weather, time of day, the lane number but more sensitive to trust, critical mass volume, logical lane arrangement, consistent pictures/CRs, and lanes/sellers that convert.  A skin-in-the-game consignor understands that trained, competent block personnel are as important as the arbitrage simulcast enables. They can make you or break you.” 

Reynolds invests in The Appraisal Lane

AUSTIN, Texas  - 

Reynolds and Reynolds has made a direct equity investment in The Appraisal Lane as part of a strategic partnership between Reynolds and the real-time used-car trade network/communications platform.

The partnership announced Monday also includes a credit facility for car buying and selling, The Appraisal Lane said.  

Additionally, there is also a board of managers for the partnership, which includes:

  • Robert Burnett, senior vice president of corporate development at Reynolds
  • Trey Hiers, vice president of business development at Reynolds
  • Jeff Risner, co-founder and chief executive officer at The Appraisal Lane
  • Andrew Iorgulescu, co-founder and president at The Appraisal Lane
  • Chris Tomchay, co-founder and chief operating officer at The Appraisal Lane

 “This partnership positions us for future growth with access to a broader range of dealers across the U.S. It also enables us to continue to strategically manage and guide the company in product and business development,” Iorgulescu said in a news release. “We look forward to expanding the reach of our dealer community and helping even more dealers grow their retail operations.”

Burnett added: “We’re excited to partner with The Appraisal Lane team in offering an effective platform that helps automotive retailers streamline the used-car appraisal process and obtain real-time access to expert, trustworthy cash offers for trade-in vehicles.

“This is one more example of Reynolds’ ongoing commitment to helping automotive retailers operate more efficiently and profitably while, at the same time, improving the overall car-buying experience for dealership customers.”

In a phone interview with Auto Remarketing, Iorgulescu shared more details about how the partnership came to be and The Appraisal Lane’s plans with the investment.

How deal came about

Monday’s news comes after roughly a year of conversation between the two companies, Iorgulescu said.

About a year ago, The Appraisal Lane decided to seek financing to help the business grow. The company began building the platform in 2013, and that continued for most of 2014 before testing began in 2015.

“In 2016, we’ve started, really, as you would say, pouring gas on the fire a little bit,” Iorgulescu said. “And so we decided to go out and look for some financing to help us do that.”

The Appraisal Lane  raised a bit of money, he said, in a “friends and family” round of investment from friends of the company or people in the car business they knew.

Another route they explored was strategic partnerships.

The company presented at the AutoVentures Conference last year, which was the first time that Reynolds — or anyone, really — had the chance to really experience the product, he said.

The Appraisal Lane continued conversations with Reynolds at NADA and beyond, and had talks with other parties, as well.  

“They’re a perfect fit for us and what it is we’re trying to get done,” Iorgulescu said of Reynolds. “And we could not be more excited to be working with them.”

Plans going forward

The Appraisal Lane, Iorgulescu said, is still in early stages. It’s a start-up, after all.

“We started it from scratch. We’ve been scratching and clawing and in the building stage; we were in that process of defining and validating and designing our solution over the last couple of years,” he said. “Now we’re kind of in that stage where we can slowly start to grow, methodically, our business.

“And having a partner like Reynolds that is just so embedded in the automotive space … I just couldn’t even describe how many different ways that we could potentially work with Reynolds,” he said.

Given the size differences in the two companies, Iorgulescu said they will be very methodical in their approach.  Currently, The Appraisal Lane is operating in the Northeast and Southeast and is working to increase its presence the Mid-Atlantic.

Next on the list is Texas followed by the Midwest.

“We’re working our way from east to west,” he said. “We were doing that — bootstrapping it — before. Now we have an investment from Reynolds, we have a credit facility that Reynolds is providing for us to help us with the buying and the selling of vehicles.”

The previous credit facility that The Appraisal Lane had was “much, much smaller and on different terms” with a midsize dealer group partner.

While the focus for now will be on the equity investment, the credit facility and growing the business in the near-term, Iorgulescu sees the possibility of more collaboration between the companies in the longer term, especially given all the areas of the car business in which Reynolds works.

“Just in the sheer reach of, over time, educating people that work at Reynolds about The Appraisal Lane solutions, there’s just a side effect that we can get from that,” he said. “On top of that, there are a number of processes that we touch inside the dealership that Reynolds touches, as well, or even (that) Reynolds handles inside the dealer’s retail management system.”

When asked if this partnership could lead to expansion in the products and services that The Appraisal Lane offers, Iorgulescu said there is “absolutely” potential for growth.

In fact, there have already been discussions about “the other products that we could either do together or that could be facilitated by sister businesses of Reynolds or things that we could do to facilitate things that Reynolds might be planning to do,” he said.

“So, absolutely, there are additional products that we’ll be talking about in the future and working on together,” Iorgulescu said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

 

Manheim broadens AutoGrade availability to non-NAAA auctions & more

ATLANTA - 

To meet the growing demand from consignors for more consistency in vehicle valuation processes, Manheim on Monday morning announced plans to expand its AutoGrade condition score licensing program.

Initially distributed only to National Auto Auction Association member auctions, the company highlighted the electronic vehicle condition reporting system will now be made available to all non-NAAA auctions and wholesale marketplaces as well as other support entities, including third-party inspection companies, software vendors and consignors.

“Our clients have told us that having access to accurate condition score information is key to understanding a vehicle’s true market value and informing buying decisions,” said Grace Huang, senior vice president of inventory services for Manheim.

“By making this program more widely available, we’re helping our customers make more informed buying decisions across the wholesale ecosystem,” Huang continued.

Effective immediately, Manheim indicated any organization involved in the vehicle remarketing process will be able to obtain AutoGrade license agreements. Administered through AutoIMS (Auto Auction Services Corp.), the licenses will allow clients to input vehicle damage information via the AutoIMS inventory management system and receive a point-based grade according to Manheim and NAAA standards for various mechanical, structural, body repair and cosmetic defects.

To help ensure the continued viability of the expanded license program, Manheim said it will charge a small transaction fee administered by AutoIMS to any new customers not currently under contract. Current licensees will not be charged a transaction fee until their current contract expires.

“The No. 1 pain point for remarketers is consistent vehicle information,” AutoIMS president and chief executive officer Mike Broe said. “With this expanded program, buyers and sellers will have confidence in what the grade means and know that it’s applicable across all platforms.”

Both Manheim and AutoIMS called AutoGrade the “gold standard” for vehicle condition grading since it is becoming more readily available at a time when wholesale volumes are increasing, buyers are embracing Internet platforms and sellers are asking for consistency in their vehicle valuation processes across multiple venues and geographies.

“Our goal is to provide our clients with services that improve the overall remarketing experience,” Huang said. “AutoGrade condition scores do just that by supporting reliable, accurate and consistent reporting, thereby providing increased confidence to buyers and sellers alike.”