Kia Motors boasts best-ever April CPO sales

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kia Motors America said that last month's certified pre-owned sales marked its best April ever and more than a 5-perecent increase. And this, right after Kia had its best first quarter ever for CPO

Last month, Kia sold a 6,953 vehicles, which was up 5.6 percent year-over-year.  CPO sales have risen 14 percent year-to-date, reaching 26,406 units, according to Autodata Corp.'s April CPO retail sales report.

"Kia's record CPO sales are not surprising when you consider Kia offers the longest powertrain coverage, excellent financing incentives and a strong inspection process," IntelliChoice director of data products Eric Anderson said in a news release. "This is why IntelliChoice awarded Kia the best popular brand CPO program."

Kia’s CPO program only accepts Kia vehicles that are five years old or newer with less than 60,000 miles, according to KMA. Each vehicle also undergoes a 150-point quality assurance inspection by certified technicians.

Additionally, KMA said all Kia CPO purchases come with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and 12-month/12,000 mile Platinum Coverage.

Manheim Penn. to host annual auctioneer championship


Manheim Pennsylvania will host over 100 auctioneers who are set to face-off in the 2017 World Automobile Auctioneers Championship (WAAC), which will showcase auctioneers competing for $12,500 in prize money as well as the title of the best auctioneer, best ringperson and best two-person team.

“It’s our privilege to sponsor this year’s event and celebrate the top professionals in automobile auctioneering,” Manheim Pennsylvania general manager Joey Hughes said in a news release. “It will be an inspiring display of hard work and unique craft.”

Auctioneers will be judged on chant, voice quality, salesmanship and other performance elements of efficient and authentic auctioneering.

Contenders will also have to showcase their ability to interact and communicate with bidders and buyers.

“The level of talent at this event will be unparalleled, and picking the winners will be an exciting, tough job,” Manheim Inventory Services senior vice president Grace Huang and judge for the championship said.

Other Auto auction industry executives set to attend the championship include Shane O’Dell, president of Cox Automotive Financial Solutions Group and Jerry Hinton, president of the National Auto Auction Association.

“It is fitting to hold this competition at Manheim Pennsylvania, where modern-day auto auctions began in the U.S.,” WAAC president Paul Behr said. “We appreciate Manheim making this event possible, and for the industry leader’s commitment to auto auction professionals.”

Manheim Pennsylvania is said to be the largest auction in the world, its operations currently sit on 400 acres, according to Manheim.

Toyota honors Union Pacific with 9th award

OMAHA, Neb. - 

Union Pacific has earned the 2016 Toyota Logistics Excellence Award in customer service for the ninth consecutive year, along with the automaker's Kaizen Excellence Award in recognition of excellence in continuous improvement, the company announced on Monday.

"We’re honored to receive the inaugural Kaizen award, demonstrating our dedication to continuous improvement, efficiency and shipment quality," Union Pacific's vice president and automotive general manager Jennifer Hamann said in a news release. "It is also a privilege to receive Toyota's Logistics Excellence Award in Customer Service year after year, as it reflects our unwavering commitment to provide an excellent customer experience."

This is the first year Toyota has honored a railroad with its Kaizen award, according to Union Pacific.

The company said it has followed Toyota’s problem-solving process to secure damage-free loading at the Benicia, Calif., auto ramp.

Union Pacific’s rail network connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country.

Cancer & AIDS research foundation to honor Facebook auto director


The T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research has announced that it will honor Facebook's U.S. Automotive director Stephanie Latham at the Women of Influence Awards and Luncheon next week.

Latham, a breast cancer survivor and passionate supporter of the cause, will join five other women in accepting their awards during the foundation's fifth annual event at the New York Plaza Hotel on  May 12 at 11:30 a.m.

“The awards celebration honors six outstanding women who have achieved tremendous goals in both in their business and personal life and will benefit ovarian and breast cancer research,” the foundation said in a news release. 

Latham joined Facebook in 2011 and in her current role as head of its U.S. Automotive team, she works alongside marketers and agencies to forge solutions across platforms that boost brand awareness in efforts to sell more vehicles.

She also held leadership positions on Facebook’s Retail, Financial Services and Restaurants teams before leading on the Automotive team.

Prior to joining Facebook, Latham served as the executive director of Account Service at the Barbarian Group, where she managed the GE, CNN and Google accounts.

Latham received her MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter.

For more information about the 2017 Women of Influence Awards and Luncheon's other honorees and to obtain tickets for the event, visit

Vincentric awards 3 Hyundai models for low cost of operation


This year's Vincentric Best Fleet Value in America Awards have recognized Hyundai’s 2017 Elantra SE, 2017 Sonata Hybrid and 2017 Tucson models for their low cost of operation, the automaker announced on Thursday.

Hyundai’s Elantra model took the top spot in the compact sedan category for the third time.

Meanwhile, the Tucson won its second award in the compact SUV/crossover category and the Sonata Hybrid received its first honor in the hybrid segment.

"The versatility, quality and fuel efficiency of our product lineup allow fleet operators and consumers alike to have an ownership experience that is low in cost and hassle," Hyundai Motor America senior group manager of product planning Brandon Ramirez said in a news release. "Customer-focused features like the Elantra's comprehensive safety characteristics, the engaging driving features of the Sonata Hybrid and the advanced infotainment technology of the Tucson exemplify our commitment of delivering a high-quality driving experience without sacrificing value and reliability."

Now in its 12th year, Vincentric’s Best Fleet Value in America Awards honor models with the lowest total cost of ownership in the greatest number of measured lifecycle cost scenarios.

"Our Best Fleet Value in America award highlights vehicles that retain their value throughout their fleet lifecycle," Vincentric president David Wurster said. "Hyundai's wins across several different categories is a testament to their ability to deliver high value with a wide product mix in the commercial vehicle space."

Vincentric measures cost-of-ownership using the following list of cost factors: depreciation, fees & taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs. Award winners were determined to have the lowest fleet lifecycle cost in the most scenarios for its particular segment.

CarGurus names winners of inaugural Best Used Car Awards


On Friday, CarGurus named the recipients of its inaugural Best Used Car Awards, which recognize the best recent-year used-car models across seven body style categories.

CarGurus’ new award considers each vehicle’s long-term value retention projections along with driver satisfaction based on both consumer and expert reviews.

“Vehicle generations which include the 2013 model year were considered in their entirety when evaluating nominees,” the car shopping and research site said in a news release.

Nominees were selected from late model cars initially available for sale in the U.S.

The model with the highest overall score was determined to be the winner for each category.

“Most car shoppers are looking for quality and reliability in a used vehicle, as well as some assurance that the car they are buying is worth the investment,” editor Matt Smith said. “To arrive at our list of award winners, we combed through thousands of expert and user reviews for hundreds of vehicles, and also compared long-term value retention projections. The winning models certainly have a lot to offer drivers once they get behind the wheel.”

The following are the 2017 CarGurus Best Used Car Awards winners:

Luxury Sedan

1st Place: 2013-2016 Lincoln MKZ

2nd Place: 2012-2016 Audi A3

3rd Place: 2011-2016 Volvo S60

Compact Sedan/Hatchback

1st Place: 2013-2016 Dodge Dart

2nd Place: 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra

3rd Place: 2012-2016 Subaru Impreza

Midsize Sedan 

1st Place: 2011-2017 Dodge Charger

2nd Place: 2013-2016 Ford Fusion

3rd Place: 2010-2014 Chrysler 200

Small Crossover/SUV

1st Place: 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler

2nd Place: 2013-2016 Subaru XV Crosstrek

3rd Place: 2012-2016 Honda CR-V

Midsize Crossover/SUV

1st Place: 2010-2016 Toyota 4Runner

2nd Place: 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

3rd Place: 2008-2016 Toyota Venza

Full-size Crossover/SUV

1st Place: 2013-2016 Hyundai Santa Fe

2nd Place: 2007-2016 Ford Expedition

3rd Place: 2011-2016 Dodge Durango

Full-size Truck

1st Place: 2011-2017 Ram 1500

2nd Place: 2009-2014 Ford F-150

3rd Place: 2007-2016 Toyota Tundra


Louisiana’s 1st Choice names new director, manager

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

ServNet recently announced that Louisiana's 1st Choice Auto Auction (LFCAA) of Hammond, La., one of its auction members, has chosen to promote two of its employees.

Bridget Higginbotham, who has been with LFCAA for 14 years, has moved into the role of new business development director. Meanwhile, Katie Alombro, who has been with the auction for eight years, was promoted to office manager. 

In her new role, Higginbotham will be tasked with developing new accounts, both institutional and dealer.

Additionally, Alombro, who most recently served as a title clerk, now is responsible for overseeing titles, payments, collections and the LFCAA office staff.

"Katie and Bridget show pride in their work, innovation and creativity in their jobs, and a willingness to do what it takes to make our customers happy," LAFCAA owner and managing partner John Poteet said. "In short, they are successful, loyal employees and are a representative of the type of people that work here. I am proud of them and their achievements."

Ally honors ServNet member for sales growth

Ally recently recognized Akron Auto Auction, another ServNet member, with its SmartAuction's Greatest Year-Over-Year Sales Growth Award for 2016.

"Our entire auction team is thrilled to receive this SmartAuction award," Chad Bailey, president of Akron Auto Auction said. "Since our first year with SmartAuction in 2010, the online platform has become an invaluable tool for us, allowing us to help customers expand the market for their vehicles and maximize resale values."

Bailey said the auction first posted 100 vehicles to SmartAuction in 2010 and volume has increased steadily since.

Akron Auto Auction strengthened its volume by 254 percent in 2016 over the prior year, according to Bailey.

Ally’s senior account manager of independent auctions Brent Ramels and its director of sales operations Kevin Valimont visited the auction to present the award.

Women in Remarketing: Linda Paton

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Linda Paton, office manager at Greater Rockford Auto Auction and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree.

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Linda Paton: My path to the automotive industry began in 1963, while in high school. I accepted a job as title clerk working for my uncle's car dealership. In 1987, after being promoted to office manager of the Greater Rockford Auto Auction — a sister business of the car lot — I fell in love with the excitement of the Wednesday auction. That thrill, anchored by the great relationships that I've formed with the dealers and the rest of the team, remains 30 years later.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

LP: The remarketing industry has changed so much in the past three decades. Long gone are the days of handwritten lane sheets, block tickets and typewriters. I remember our first computer system that we implemented in 1993 — that was a very overwhelming day for all of us. We are now operating in a paperless environment, and our dealers love the ease and efficiency.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

LP: The key to leadership for me is to listen to my team. I've found that allowing them to share openly and honestly has created a productive environment in which we all succeed.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

LP: The auction business is controlled chaos and can be very overwhelming. The key to my success is simple: smile, never let them see you sweat and provide the best customer service in the business. My team and I share the same customer service convictions, and we are proud to see our dealer base come back each week.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

LP: I most admire my late Uncle "Swede" who was one of the most forward-thinking operators in the business, and his charisma was contagious. Every Sunday, during the afternoon movie, he would buy all of the commercial time and broadcast infomercials of his used-car offering.

Later, when his focus turned to the auction business, he treated every dealer as if they were his closest friend and invited them to breakfast, lunch or just for a chat in his office. The key to my success is simple: smile, never let them see you sweat and provide the best customer service in the business.

He made everyone feel special and made certain that they didn't feel like "just a number."

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

LP: I'm lucky enough to have my 95-year-old mother in my life, and I thoroughly enjoy our Saturday morning coffee dates. I'm also an avid reader and love to escape into a mystery novel. Mostly, I enjoy spending time with my family, whether in Florida or on Lake Michigan during the summer months.

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing.

Women in Remarketing: Kathi Mehall

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Kathi Mehall, vice president of technology in auto at Equifax and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Kathi Mehall: You could say my entire path has been the automotive industry! With the exception of my first year-and-a-half after graduating from Penn State with a degree in computer science, I have always been in the automotive industry.

I joined a startup that installed the first in-house computer in a dealership in northern Virginia.

Prior to that time, dealers used online services to manage their business and often had to send away their documents to be key-punched and returned.

I know I am dating myself with that memory; however, I have watched so much happen in automotive that it is almost as if the only thing you can truly count on is change!

My current role with Equifax is one of the most exciting to date, as I am leveraging all my previous experience to develop products and services that incorporate Equifax’s extensive data assets to inform decisions and verifications in the automotive ecosystem.

Equifax insights are transforming automotive finance and marketing, and the expanding breadth of data available, both directly and through partnerships, is one of the many exciting developments I have seen through the years.

How could I possibly choose what I enjoy the most? My career has taken me through every aspect of the auto ecosystem, always leveraging my technical background. I spent 13 years in dealerships with ADP Dealer Services (now CDK). I was then recruited to join General Motors to bring retail technical knowledge to the manufacturer and worked directly for the CIO, Ralph Szygenda.

Ralph is a person I respect and admire, a man who taught me many things and gave me the opportunities of a lifetime to travel the globe and watch every part of the automotive manufacturing, distribution, sales and service processes. I joined GMAC when it was spun off from GM and learned automotive financial services at every level.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

KM: It would probably be easier to comment on what isn’t different, as so much has changed and evolved! When I first started out, the used-car business was much maligned and not really taken seriously, kind of the stepchild to the new-car franchise. The remarketing/used-car segment has grown to be a true force in the industry. It has become a well-respected, mature business that demands attention and respect. The value to the consumer and the importance of the segment are well-recognized by all.

Technology has transformed this industry, starting with the auction lanes, easing distribution, the shift from newspaper to digital advertising, confidence instilled by vehicle history availability and the vast access enabled by online search.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

KM: My leadership style is very collaborative. I enjoy being part of a team and have always found that if you help people grow and learn, then they will enjoy what they are doing and become a high-functioning, loyal team that can solve any challenge. Problem-solving to me is gathering the facts and asking questions. I have no problem admitting I don’t know an answer and encourage open, honest dialogue.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

KM: Listening, learning and applying technology to help solve business issues and improve efficiency. Adapting to change and embracing the future. Surrounding myself with intelligent, hard-working individuals who love the car business as much as I do, so much so that it becomes a part of your DNA!

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

KM: Mary Barra — watching her rise to the top at GM was amazing. The fact that she is also an engineer and a woman makes me proud to have been a colleague. Being an agent of change in such a demanding business takes courage, intelligence and tenancy, which are all attributes I aspire to.

I also admire my older brother, who built an engineering consulting business from the ground up through tremendous hard work. He takes great care of his family and his employees, and has a fabulous sense of humor, helping us all put life, and its trials, into perspective!

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

KM: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends whenever I can. My husband is an avid golfer and I enjoy accompanying him to all the golf courses; I just don’t fare so well playing the game!

I love to read and enjoy decorating and traveling/sightseeing.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, and the auto industry planted me in Detroit, so visiting family requires planning and time. My husband and I are both in the automotive industry and travel a great deal for work, so just enjoying a nice dinner out together is a treat!

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Jeanene O'Brien

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Jeanene O'Brien, senior vice president of global marketing at Insurance Auto Auctions and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoroee.

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Jeanene O'Brien: I was a month away from graduating with my master's degree from Loyola University Quinlan School of Business when I was having brunch at a sorority sister's house. Her mother happened to be an executive recruiter, and also enjoying brunch was the vice president of human resources from CCC Information Services, Inc. A conversation ensued, and needless to say, my master's degree got put to work a month later.

CCC was going through an amazing transformation at the time that I joined — shifting from DOS-based collision-estimating technology to Microsoft-based. Learning about the automotive claims industry was simultaneously interesting and challenging.

The industry was experiencing dramatic changes, including consolidation of body shops and shifts in direct repair programs, so it was somewhat like learning from a fire hose. The collision estimating and total loss valuation offerings at that time were fragmented, which was consistent with an industry that had three large and several smaller players. The importance of establishing a brand and leadership position for the company in this dynamic industry was critical and I found this strategic marketing work to be both challenging and rewarding.

After nearly 10 years with CCC, I made the transition to IAA in 2008 through the support and encouragement of a colleague. She was someone who had supported me during my entire career at CCC, and was pivotal in me joining IAA — when she was called by the hiring manager from IAA as a reference, her direct words were, "You will never have to push her forward, but you may have to hold her back."

IAA was a completely different company than CCC. While the industries had many similarities and even shared some of the same customers, the business, the product and the service offering were completely different. Similar to CCC, the automotive auction business was consolidating when I joined. So I joined a company and business that was also evolving — and the changes haven't stopped. Currently, at IAA I am again focused on maintaining a leadership position for a brand and company in a dynamic and very competitive market. I truly enjoy studying and understanding the drivers of the industry, including what makes a seller sell and a buyer buy. I am driven to make the customers' experiences with the brand truly best-in-class every day.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

JO: When I joined IAA, the company had recently completed the merger with ADESA and AFC, which created KAR Auction Services (NYSE: KAR). At that time we were truly seen as just a salvage auction company. Today, as part of the KAR Auction Services family of companies, we are far more. We provide a total loss solution and remarketing portfolio of products to our sellers and the most bidding and purchasing platforms to our buyers. This means we think beyond the running of a vehicle through a sale.

We consider the start of our service offering with insurance companies for example, at the time of the accident. Today we approach products and services from an entire process perspective rather than from "just selling a car."

This new approach is carried out through marketing and that keeps my job consistently challenging and rewarding. This is a competitive market. Anyone can tow a car to a facility and sell it — the real game changers in our industry are listening to the customers and transforming the process.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

JO: In terms of leadership style, I believe in giving people the skills necessary to be successful and accountable. I also feel that with a leadership position comes the responsibility to be a springboard, to encourage and motivate people to reach higher every day. As a leader, I have always thrived when I have a diverse team of people who can celebrate and challenge one another every day — and I certainly have that at IAA.

We work in a fast-paced environment — but when problem solving, I think it's important to understand and consider all the variables to arrive at solutions. It's easy to get distracted by a new technology or a seemingly better solution, but without asking all the questions, a poor decision can be made. My team is my go-to, and of the ultimate importance as we approach problem solving. I have some great "questioners" and very vocal teammates.

Getting a problem out on the table and encouraging different viewpoints can help a resolution come to light. I have a longtime colleague who is often my best debater but, after we have a good, healthy conversation, we always have a better solution. I also believe in challenging others when decision-making because it will either solidify the solution or produce a better one.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

JO: In order to be successful in any business, you really have to be a student of the industry.

I've come into IAA with the experience of working at CCC. Therefore, I understand the drivers of the insurance company's decision to send a total loss vehicle to auction. I have also worked to understand what makes the auction tick, what motivates the buyer to bid and ultimately purchase a vehicle, and strived to listen to what the seller values in the services offered. The key to success in my career is rooted deeply in understanding the dynamics of the industry and the value delivered to the clients.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

JO: I certainly would not be where I am without my parents. I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. My folks divorced when I was very young. My mom was an assistant to a thoroughbred racer, which meant my sister and I got to sit a time or two in the box seats at Keeneland Race Track. My mom taught me tenacity and perseverance. Even today, when I don't think I can, my mom reminds me how strong and capable I am. My dad was a dentist at the University of Kentucky and worked for the World Health Organization. My dad consistently encouraged me to do more, to reach further and above all else to remember that life is short, so take the time to enjoy it.

My dad died 15 years ago, which was tremendously hard, but he lives on in my desire to see everyone take that next step, and to remember to be happy in the short time we all have here on earth. I have a teammate who had not completed her bachelor's degree. I've encouraged and supported her, and she will be graduating in July. I couldn't be more thrilled for her. She is extremely capable and watching her believe in herself and achieve her goals has been inspirational to see.

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

JO: I have two amazing kids, a daughter who is weeks away from 13 and a son who is 16. They make me unbelievably proud every day. They are, in fact, my greatest accomplishments. Both of my kids are academically strong and play AAU sports. My daughter plays volleyball and my son plays basketball. This makes for many upcoming road trips to different states, as well as some nail-biting experiences, as my son flying cross-country solo.

My job is to give them wings to fly. Watching them begin that flight and journey is exciting. If I'm not watching or coaching my daughter power-overhand serving a volleyball or my son sink a 3-pointer, you'll find me moving about the amazing city of Chicago, the city I call home. You can usually fi nd me having dinner at a favorite city restaurant, enjoying a Cubs game, sitting on my front stoop with a glass of wine talking to my neighbors or out for a run to hit my 15-20 miles for the week. Unless it's during March Madness — then all bets are off and this Big Blue-blooded Kentucky girl is screaming "Go Cats!"

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing