Auctions

Keller: Remarketing of cars becomes 'more sophisticated'

RALEIGH, N.C.  - 

Increases in vehicles coming off leases. Better technology within the selling process. A more digital-first buyer. The need to manage residual risk.

It’s such phenomena as these that have led to what auto industry consultant Maryann Keller describes as “more sophisticated remarketing,” where data analysis, cost management and new sales avenues coalesce in scientific wholesale strategy.

In many ways, “remarketing has evolved,” as Keller put it during a presentation here last week at the inaugural Automotive Intelligence Summit.

Lease returns go upstream

Consider, for instance, how the influx of off-lease volumes has been managed over the past five years.

Citing data from RVI Analytics, Keller said that 28 percent of off-lease vehicles in 2013 were sold in upstream channels.  But last year, almost half went that route.

“Now, that’s a big change in terms of percentages, but when you look at it in terms of absolute volume, it’s pretty staggering,” she said.

Giving some rough numbers, Keller  — who is the principal of Maryann Keller & Associaties, a member of the Automotive Intelligence Council — said that five years ago, you’re talking about less than 2 million off-lease units, with around 500,000 being sold to dealers.

But with off-lease numbers approaching 4 million last year (Cox Automotive, in a recent analysis, put 2017 lease maturities at 3.5 million) and nearly half being sold upstream, Keller said the absolute volume of off-lease units being sold upstream in 2017 was more than three times as high than it was in 2013.

“The auto companies finally have taken these steps because they understand that in order to protect the value of the car and minimize the depreciation risk that they’ve already taken by subventing the lease in the first place, they have to have a more sophisticated remarketing structure that allows them to at least realize a better return on a car,” Keller said.

“It also allows them to keep the car where it is so they have no transportation costs, they have fewer fees, et cetera,” she said. “So by and large, they’re better off having done this proactively and in anticipation of the fact that they had so many off lease cars that they were going to have to be dealing with.”

Shift away from program cars

Keller, who spent more than a decade as a director with Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group before its sale to Hertz, said a similar retuning happened on the rental car side of remarketing.

During her time with DTAG, “at height of our remarketing efforts” before the sale to Hertz, Keller said that about half of their off-rental cars were sold directly to dealerships, and the team eventually learned the best approach to avoid cherry-picking by dealerships was to bundle, for example, 20 cars

Her time on the rental side also happened amid the shift away from program cars.

Until about 2007, she said, most of the rental business was in program cars, where automakers would buy back vehicles from the rental companies, meaning the OEM would take on the residual risk.

But when that shifted in 2008 — during a recession, unfortunately — and rental companies “had to actually learn how to remarket our cars successfully” and learn fleet management rapidly since they now owned vehicles and had to take on the residual risk.

‘More than a physical process’

Perhaps the most illuminating piece of insight from Keller was take on the evolution of remarketing vehicles from a process mostly dependent on physical factors to one that has a bit more science behind it.

“Back in the old days … remarketing was more of a physical process. There really wasn’t a lot of data or analysis that went into it. It was: the car was grounded, the car was marshaled, the car was sent to the auction, the car ran through the lane,” Keller said. “What happened at that point was a function of its condition, the weather, how many people were in the lane bidding. It was an entirely physical process.

“And so, it was somewhat hit-and-miss,” she said. “Clearly, supply and demand (and) a lot of other conditions influence the price, but it was thought of as a physical process.

“I think today, remarketing has evolved. It’s more than a physical process; it is a process by which you can improve the value at the end of your ownership. And people now understand that time is money, so getting that car sold fast is part of improving your overall return. Getting it in the right channel at the right time and under the right conditions.”

The digitization of the remarketing business has certainly added fuel to the fire and broadened the capabilities of remarketers in the last two decades.

There is also a “new generation of buyers who live their lives on their mobile devices” who are just fine buying cars online, Keller said.

Not to mention, there has also been an evolution in the technology that provides vehicle information — like the upgrades in photography and condition reports, Keller points out.

“So, all of these things have now converged to allow more and different channels — sometimes specific to a type of car, sometimes specific to a type of seller — to emerge quite successfully as alternatives to simply selling cars in a physical auction,” she said.

It’s no longer just about trying to get the highest price. But rather, the smallest cost, too, she said.

There are “an infinite number of options” starting to come available for remarketers, Keller said, citing examples in the rental market like rent-to-own or branded used-car sales where the remarketing, so to speak, is done via retail instead of wholesale.

But based on handfuls of presentations at the Auto Intel Summit that touched on emerging fleet management technology, alternative ownership, data science and more, the evolution may just be getting started.

After successful pilot, Manheim Express mobile app launches nationwide

ATLANTA - 

After a successful pilot program, Manheim announced today its seller-focused mobile app Manheim Express is now available nationwide. 

The app is free to download on Apple, and will be coming to Android later in the fall. The company shared that as upstream and digital sales channels continue to become more prevalent in the industry, Manheim Express follows this trend, allowing dealers to appraise and list vehicles in any channel. 

"We are enabling the future of the wholesale remarketing industry by launching Manheim Express nationwide today," Grace Huang, president of Cox Automotive inventory solutions said. 

"During the pilot phase, we heard great feedback from dealers who experienced the immediate impact that using Manheim Express brings to their dealership. This app offers the industry's only wholesale Guaranteed First Bid SM and 360-degree imaging, which are huge benefits to dealers who need to turn inventory quickly,” she continued. 

Here’s how it works. After completing a few steps in the Manheim Express mobile app, Manheim shared “dealers have all of the information they need to evaluate a vehicle.”

Then, dealers can decide to take a Guaranteed First Bid, list the vehicle in the Manheim Marketplace, order an inspection or consign it to a Manheim operating location.

The app, which allows dealers to list and sell inventory right from the palm of their hands, has been tested heavily through its eight-market pilot and NADA 2018 debut. 

During the pilot, Manheim Express was downloaded by over 1,600 dealers, and over 2,500 VINs were scanned in order to see the vehicle's value from Manheim Market Report, AutoCheck Snapshot vehicle history report data, and manufacturer build data (when available). 

Further, during the pilot, Guaranteed First Bid offers were extended over 400 times, and dealers created over 200 listings, which Manheim pointed out include 360-degree walkaround images on OVE in the Manheim Marketplace.

When asked about Manheim Express during the pilot, Michael Dufour, sales manager, pre-owned, Weseloh Chevrolet/Kia in Carlsbad, Califf., said, "I think Manheim Express will impact our business. We will be able to get our vehicles up for sales faster, wholesaling them faster, which will help in relation to book values and getting the most for our vehicles."

Manheim Express is one of several solutions that are being integrated into the Manheim Marketplace, comprised of OVE, as well as OEM-specific marketplaces. 

 

Lane watch: Compact-car prices hit soft patch

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 
Compact-car prices have stayed strong for much of the year, but Black Book editors noticed these particular vehicles took a bit of dip.
 
This week’s Market Insights report from Black Book showed that while cars and trucks overall saw very similar depreciation last week, compact cars saw what editors called a “big drop” compared with the previous several weeks. 
 
Despite this development, Black Book pointed out that many remarketers across the country are still showing healthy demand in the lanes.
 
“Strong demand in the retail market is resulting in fewer no sales and relatively strong prices at the auctions,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president for operations at Black Book.
 
Volume-weighted, editors determined that overall car segment values decreased by 0.30 percent last week. In comparison, Black Book recapped that values had decreased at a similar rate of 0.32-percent per week during the previous four weeks.
 
Among car segments, those previously mentioned compact cars decreased the most in values last week, sliding by 0.68 percent or $55.
 
Again looking at volume-weighted data, overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs and vans) softened by 0.28 percent last week. In comparison, Black Book noticed the values for trucks had decreased at the same rate per week during the previous four weeks.
 
Within trucks, editors noted that full-size luxury crossover/SUVs declined the most last week, ticking down by 0.73 percent or $238.
 
Moving along to what Black Book representatives stationed at nearly 60 sales nationwide, what lane watchers gathered from dealers reiterated the demand that consignors are enjoying.
 
“The market is still showing stability with few no-sales and relative strength among most segments,” the Black Book observer stationed in Georgia said.
 
Similar scenes unfolded out West.
 
The recap from Washington went this way: “Prices remain stable as all of the lanes showed good sales percentages.”
 
And from California: “Trucks and sport utilities are selling well, which is old news. Both in-lane and internet bids were active.”
 
The last two anecdotes Black Book shared for the latest report percolated out of the Midwest, which described scenes that might be playing out in other areas, too, especially if used metal is rolling over the curb at a decent clip.
 
— From Indiana: “A good sale, although consignment is still low. Retail is strong, which is prolonging the strength in the wholesale market.”
 
— From Michigan: “The post-holiday demand remains strong, which is pushing buyers to place a few extra bids to secure inventory.” 

Auction Roundup: Louisiana 1st Choice AA Ramps up OVE sales; GRAA Holds Anniversary Sale

CARY, N.C. - 

In a stream of summer auto auction news, ServNet Auction Group announced in a newsletter update that Louisiana’s 1st Choice Auction Auction has increased its OVE.com sales by 68 percent over last year, and the Greater Rockford Auto Auction just held its “GRAA'lapalooza” 44th Anniversary Sale earlier this month. 

Louisiana’s 1st Choice reaps rewards of OVE specialized team

Louisiana’s 1st Choice AA began using OVE as a platform back in 2009, but things really ramped up when the auction created a specialized team dedicated to OVE sales and support. 

Fast forward to 2018, and year-to-date wholesale transactions have more than doubled, with a 68 percent increase over last year.

Andy Poteet, the auction’s e-commerce manager, said, "OVE is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to sell or purchase wholesale vehicles.  No matter what market you are in, you will find a commensurate group of buyers and inventory.

“1st Choice further enhances the quality of experience with online selling and buying by having a dedicated online sales team available 24/7,” he added. 

In fact, the auction was listed in OVE's top 10 for independent auction dealers cars sold this past February. 

John Poteet, managing partner at Louisiana’s 1st Choice AA, said, "We think of OVE as our 7th lane. With 60,000 auto dealers having access to bid on your inventory 24/7, OVE seems like a no-brainer."

Greater Rockford Auto Auction celebrates 44 years

On July 18th, the Greater Rockford Auto Auction (GRAA) celebrated its 44th year with the GRAA'lapalooza 44th Anniversary Sale. 

The auction planned to give away $18,000 in prizes to attendees, which ranged from an outdoor bar set to a 14-foot inflatable movie screen and projector. 

Over 1,000 vehicles were set to run through the lanes for the celebratory sale. 

"GRAA'lapalooza is one sale that you will not want to miss," says Chad Anderson, GRAA's general manager, in a news release prior to the sale. 

"Our anniversary sale is one of our favorite sales of the year. The entire auction team looks forward to the opportunity to thank and give back to our customers who have supported us since 1974.  They one of the key reasons we are able to celebrate 44 years of business. We have worked hard to ensure it will be a fun filled and exciting day at the auction for everyone,” he continued. 

Following the sale, on Wednesday, the auction will continue its festivities and hold its 2nd Annual Ice Breaker Challenge, during which five dealers will compete to win $1,000 as they race to break a t-shirt out of a block of ice. 

 

Dealers Auto Auction Group highlights efforts to send more than $122K to charities

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

Dealers Auto Auction Group has a long history of giving back to the community as DAAG supports many local charities throughout the course of the year.

Collectively, the group’s recent efforts have led to more than $122,000 being awarded to a wide array of organizations.

DAA of Huntsville just celebrated its 14th anniversary sale with more than 1,000 units consigned and more than 60 percent sold, raising more than $15,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation. 

DAA of Huntsville equally has raised more than $55,000 for the local YMCA and American Cancer Society in 2018.

Giving back is something that is very important to chief executive David Andrews, who said, “We are so blessed with being able to be a part of so many amazing organizations. We really believe that supporting these local groups is the right thing to do.”

Roger Fields, general manager of DAA of Huntsville added, “It has amazed me what a group of dealers will do on a Tuesday morning at 10 am. In addition to opening their wallets with money contributions, these men and women have donated automobiles and numerous other items for our charity auctions.”

Dealers Auto Auction Group, which has seven locations in the Southeast, holds special events at each of their locations, including:

— DAA of Memphis has raised over $8,700 for organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, St Jude, American Cancer Society and a local food bank.

— DAA of Murfreesboro supports Mission Forces and has raised more than $33,000 in the past year.

— DAA of Chattanooga has raised over $10,000 for Toys for Tots, Forgotten Child and the American Red Cross.

— DAA of Mobile has raised $600 for Team Focus, a local youth organization.

“Dealers want to help support these local organizations” said Scott Keener, director of operation for DAAG.  “They really believe in giving back.”

Dealers Auto Auction Group was started back in 2001 with its first auction in Horn Lake Miss. For more information, visit www.dealersauto.com.

Dealers continue to face wholesale challenge of finding clean, affordable units

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

Perhaps not as difficult as finding that needle in the proverbial haystack, Black Book’s latest anecdotes from the lanes again described how dealers are having difficulties finding clean vehicles at the auction without completely depleting their floorplan funds.

Before getting into bidding activities, this week’s edition of Black Book Market Insights showed how prices aren’t softening like how dealers typically experience during the summer.

“The used-car market stays strong with mainstream car brand values depreciating at a low rate for this time of the year,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations at Black Book.

Volume-weighted, Black Book reported that overall car segment values decreased by 0.27 percent last week. In comparison, the values had decreased at a higher rate of 0.34 percent per week during the previous four weeks.

Among car segments, editors noticed sporty cars showed a seasonal lift in values last week, rising 0.24 percent or $37.

Again volume-weighted, Black Book determined overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans — softened by 0.34 percent last week. In comparison, the values had declined at a lower rate of 0.26 percent per week during the previous four weeks.

Within truck segments, editors found that full-size vans and full-size luxury crossover/SUVs decreased the most last week, dipping by 0.66 or $101 and 0.62 percent or $204, respectively.

Be it a car or a truck, dealers are having trouble finding units that do not need a significant amount of reconditioning at a price that fits their particular store retail model. Here’s a sampling of what Black Book noticed at nearly 60 sales nationwide:

— From Indiana: “Business is good and dealers are holding onto their trade-ins. Nicer vehicles are scarce as are trucks.”

— From Wisconsin: “Active bidding and selling in most lanes even as dealers complain about high prices.”

— From Florida: “The older cars continue to struggle, but buyers are paying premium prices for cleaner and newer vehicles.”

— From Texas: “Our consignment has been low which has kept the values up. Bidding is quite good on most vehicles.”

— From Michigan: “Some trucks have seen a price rise during the last couple of weeks, which is unusual for our market in July.”

COMMENTARY: Addressing the national truck driver shortage

ST. LOUIS - 

Those in the vehicle logistics industry have known for a while that a shortage of long-haul truck drivers in the United States over the last several years has impacted costs and delivery times. According to a report from the American Trucking Association, the U.S. had a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers at the end of 2017. That number is expected to balloon to 63,000 by the end of this year, and 174,000 by 2026 if current trends hold.

Beyond vehicle transport, that shortage is now impacting costs in other areas as well, including consumer goods. Companies like General Mills, Tyson Foods, Hormel and John Deere have all cited higher shipping costs for price hikes in their products.

Rising transportation costs will certainly impact our nation’s economy as well. By revenue, trucks move 82 percent of the freight in the United States. Logistics and transportation account for about 10 percent of every dollar in the national economy, so an increase in transportation costs will likely increase inflation.

The causes

So, what exactly is causing this shortage of truck drivers?

Experts say truckers are aging out of the industry and not enough younger drivers are joining. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55.

Truck drivers earn an average of $23.99 per hour. Despite that, the industry is losing young workers to jobs with more steady hours and a better work-life balance, like construction or energy. The long work hours (up to 70 hours a week for many) and weeks away from home are definitely seen as detractors, especially in a healthy economy with plentiful job opportunities.

Additionally, some drivers are weary of new federal safety regulations that monitor how long they are on the road, and that mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all trucks with an engine model year of 2000 or later.

As retired truck driver Robert Sanders told Business Insider magazine, “No one wants to be gone for weeks at a time while being monitored 14 hours a day for a ridiculously low wage while performing a stressful and dangerous job. Might as well do a job where you are appreciated and paid better after your eight-hour shift.”

While driverless cars and trucks are still years away from being widely accepted, some foresee that the long-term prospects for the truck driver profession are not good.

Looking for solutions

While there is no surefire cure-all for the truck driver shortage, several developments can help attract and retain more drivers.

I believe the solution will require an industrywide push. Our nation’s economy is dependent on the ability to move products. The government should have some skin in the game and actively work to address the issue.

Following are just a few of the proposed solutions:

  • Offering higher wages, signing bonuses and frequent raises
  • Offering shorter hours
  • Congress is considering lowering the interstate truck-driving age from 21 to 18
  • Promoting to younger drivers the advanced technology used in the industry
  • Promoting professionalism, and removing the negative stigma of being a trucker
  • Identifying and actively marketing to targeted populations like military veterans and women
  • Incentivizing companies that promote drivers’ work-life balance
  • Creating value-added tools that enhance the work-life balance of drivers

The truck driver shortage could deliver a double whammy to auto dealers: both in higher transport costs and higher inflation in the general economy. Executives in the auto industry would be wise to monitor the shortage, and work collaboratively with lawmakers, regulators, vocational schools and transport companies to lessen the economic impact and develop viable industrywide solutions.

Susan Moritz is vice president of business development with ACERTUS (www.acertusdelivers.com).

PODCAST: Joe Neiman and George Chamoun of ACV Auctions

LAS VEGAS  - 

Cherokee Media Group president Bill Zadeits is back on the mics for this one, interviewing Joe Neiman and George Chamoun of ACV Auctions during NADA Show 2018 in March.

They talk about the capital growth at ACV, how the idea for the online auction company started and more.

To see how much the company has grown since this late-March discussion, be sure to check out this feature, where Chamoun talks about ACV's milestones and market expansion so far this year.

Bill's full discussion with the ACV leaders at NADA Show can be found below.

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Editor's Note: Updated to correct spelling of Neiman. 

Lane watch: Consistent trends stretch back 4 weeks

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

As typical as fans running on high speed above the auction lanes this time of year, Black Book is seeing that the wholesale market currently is demonstrating expected seasonal depreciation trends with car prices falling slightly more than trucks, SUVs and CUVs.

“Depreciation rates have remained consistent during the last four weeks for both car and light truck segments. The used-vehicle market is relatively strong for this time of the year,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president, operations, at Black Book. 

According to the latest Black Book Market Insights report, volume-weighted, overall car segment values decreased by 0.34 percent last week. In comparison, the values had decreased at a similar rate per week during the previous four weeks.

Among car segments, compact cars, sporty cars and premium sporty cars depreciated the least last week, with declines ranging from $10 to $38.

Again volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values (including pickups, SUVs and vans) decreased by 0.25 percent last week. Just like cars, truck values had softened at a similar rate per week during the previous four weeks.

Within the truck segments, compact vans, minivans and compact luxury crossover/SUVs decreased the most last week, dropping by 0.81 percent or $74, 0.55 percent or $71, and 0.45 percent or $88, respectively.

The truck discussion continued with some of the anecdotes from the lanes Black Book collected from representatives stationed at nearly 60 sales nationwide. Two truck tales surfaced in the Midwest, including

— From Michigan: “Trucks have seen a price rise in the last couple of weeks, which is unusual for our market in July.”

— From Indiana: “Business is good, and dealers are holding onto their trade-ins. Nicer vehicles are scarce as are trucks.

One other observation also originated in the Midwest as the Black Book representative in Wisconsin added, “Active bidding and selling in most lanes even as dealers complain about high prices.”

The two other anecdotes Black Book shared might mimic what’s happening at your local sale.

“Our consignment has been low which has kept the values up. Bidding is quite good on most vehicles,” the lane watcher in Texas said.

A Black Book observer in Florida mentioned, “The older cars continue to struggle, but buyers are paying premium prices for cleaner and newer vehicles.”

Alliance Auto Auctions launches campaign to aid victims of human trafficking

DALLAS - 

Alliance Auto Auction Group believes in giving back and selects a charity to support every year. 

Chief operating officer Christopher Dean and chief executive officer Tim Adams set out to find a local charity, one that had an impact on abused and exploited children. After attending a benefit dinner, and hearing about the Poiema Foundation, they knew they had found the charity to support.

Alliance Auto Auctions has partnered with the Poiema Foundation to help raise money for victims of human trafficking.  The Poiema Foundation is a local nonprofit that rescues sex trafficking victims, helps them with their healing and restoration journey and educates the public to raise awareness to help prevent sexual abuse, sex trafficking and other methods of sexual exploitation.

For every vehicle the auction group sells in 2018, it will donate a portion of the proceeds to the foundation.

“The goal is to raise $50,000 this year,” Adams said.  “In the first quarter, we were able to donate $15,000.

“On June 20th, we held a charity auction at our Dallas location and raised over $11,000, bringing the total to $26,000. We are very excited to see what our second quarter donations come in at,” Adams continued.

Dean added, “I am inspired by the generosity of our dealer partners who want to help and support this local organization. 

“This is an epidemic that is very real right here in Texas, and the support that we have received from our dealers including donated items for our charity auction, has been incredible,” Dean went on to say.

Founded in Texas in 2011, the Alliance mission was to establish personal and trusted relationships with all customers. Alliance is a rapidly growing family of auctions providing vehicle remarketing services to wholesale dealers and for commercial consignors.

A mantra of “Customer Service to the Extreme” is igniting the company’s expansion into new markets, including Abilene, Dallas, Longview and Waco. 

For more information, visit www.allianceautoauction.com.

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