In the latest installment of the annual Power 300 issue of Auto Remarketing, we go behind the scenes with some of the leading companies in the used-car space and their top executives with a few Q&A features.
Next up is Grace Huang, president of Manheim.
Auto Remarketing: I recently visited Manheim Metro Atlanta, the former auto auction that now is a hub that services mobility fleets. What are some other ways Manheim is working with mobility companies/alternative ownership models?
Grace Huang: Our entire Manheim team is incredibly proud of the pivotal role we are playing in advancing the future of vehicle mobility. In partnership with our Mobility Division, we are upgrading some physical auctions and managing shared fleet cars in different ways around the country.
For example, in some markets, we are in-fleeting Lyft, Free2Move and Getaround vehicles at auction sites where we have invested in various mobility applications. At Manheim sites in Portland and Seattle, we are partnering with the Mobility team, who acts as the equivalent of a property manager for fleets of hundreds of cars that are sprinkled throughout those cities.
We are also continuing to invest in reconditioning facilities at many of our operating locations to expand our team’s ability to provide services such as detailing, EV charging, light mechanical work, cleaning and fueling.
Grace Huang, Manheim
Our ultimate goal is to offer Manheim’s remarketing expertise, leverage our real estate footprint and provide the services necessary to support the fast-growing segment of fleet operators.
AR: What are some ways Manheim auctions are promoting safety in the lanes?
GH: We strongly believe that safety is everyone’s responsibility — so much so that Manheim is investing almost $13 million over the next three years in a safety program to protect both our clients and team members. Actively Care Today (ACT) is designed to create a culture that makes safety top-of-mind every day and in everything we do with enhanced training, resources and best practices.
We began the program last year by requiring all 18,000 Manheim team members to complete the NAAA-endorsed Safe T. Sam online training course that promotes greater safety awareness and accident prevention. Other ACT elements include “Take 2 for Safety,” a daily practice where field and corporate team members start each day by taking two minutes to share a safety story or other important reminder, and the “Near Miss” program where team members proactively report a near -miss event they view at work. We also recently launched our first all-digital auction at Manheim Tucson, a move that is helping to create a safer auction experience in addition to generating efficiencies for dealers.
AR: What has been some of the initial reaction to the all-digital Manheim Tucson, and do you plan for other auctions to go this route?
GH: Initial dealer reaction has been very positive from our first all-digital auction launched at Manheim Tucson in May. Dealers have told us that they like the benefits of a digital experience, from being able to bid in four lanes from one location to preventing the chance of accidents that can happen in the physical lanes.
We chose Manheim Tucson for our first all-digital auction because it handles mainly dealer vehicles under $5,000, which can be challenging to sell through digital channels like Manheim Simulcast. The early success of this location is proof that our innovative, all-digital experience can appeal to all types of buyers and work for all vehicle price points by creating an experience as close as possible to a live physical sale. Beyond Manheim Tucson, we currently offer more than 100 digital lanes at our other auction locations, with plans to expand that number in the future.
AR: How will auctions adjust to the “normalization” in auction volume after years of climbing volume?
GH: Much like the wholesale market in general, auctions are resilient to change and adapt better than many give us credit for. While vehicle volumes play a central role in auction operations, it is far from the only variable that makes our business thrive. When volumes normalize, auction services like reconditioning, transportation, imaging and reporting become that much more important to helping buyers and sellers improve their experience and reduce the friction in selling and acquiring inventory.
In addition, even though auctions might not see growth in total volume, the mix of vehicles running through the lanes will continue to shift, driven by changes in off-lease and off-rental supplies. This is going to require a heightened focus on both buyer and seller services to support a changing supply mix.