Nate Lattimer and his team at Enterprise Holdings keep busy selling Enterprise truck rental units at the end of their use.
“Those are the class 6 box trucks,” said Lattimer, who is Enterprise’s vice president of remarketing, sales and operations. “I’m sure you have seen those on the road and on the highway.”
But the team works on remarketing vehicles from various Enterprise divisions. Of course, the team wholesales vehicles in its daily rental fleet. But it also remarkets vehicles from various additional businesses such as its Commute ride-sharing division.
The department sells vehicles from its leasing division at the end of their lifecycle and also remarkets vehicles from the company’s exotic car collection, which includes Lamborghinis, Ferraris and others.
In interviews with Enterprise’s Lattimer and Avis Budget Group senior vice president of fleet services Gregg Nierenberg, both put their own unique spin on things as they talked about their focus on dealers and other areas of remarketing emphasis.
Lattimer emphasizes the importance of the Enterprise’s “dealership partners,” which are the franchised and independent car dealers around the country that are his customers and that buy all those aformentioned vehicles. They include major dealership groups such as AutoNation and Sonic Automotive, and dealerships that Lattimer describes as “the family-owned businesses in every city coast-to-coast.”
To build relationships with those client companies, Lattimer’s department includes a team of about 450 salespeople, and those team members are tasked with learning as much as they can about those companies’ needs.
“Our dealerships are great partners of ours, and we want to do everything we can to help them procure inventory, because as you know, it’s a fast-paced business in the used-car marketplace,” Lattimer said. “Dealers need to keep product, sell product, and we’re here to do the best job we can to keep up with their needs. That’s unique in the used-car wholesale remarketing space, and that’s something unique to us.”
Avis Budget: Upstream efforts and technology
Nierenberg said Avis Budget participates in wholesale and retail channels of remarketing.
He explains that in his position, he oversees all of the fleet buying, fleet maintenance and fleet remarketing, with a vice president of remarketing serving under him.
“That’s my purview for overseeing the entire lifecycle of the fleet, procurement through disposition,” Nierenberg said.
The company as of late has done strong work in upstream sales, he said, adding that “We’ve always had a knack of leveraging technology to do it.” As an example, he mentioned that his company earlier this year relaunched a proprietary Avis Direct platform, helping the company “facilitate sales upstream directly with our dealer base through our own platform that we built.”
And like Lattimer of Enterprise, Nierenberg highlighted his company’s dealer efforts. Avis Budget employs a staff of direct-to-dealer representatives around the country to help build sales relationships through the platform and without the platform.
“On top of that, we’ve leveraged our partners to facilitate additional upstream sales with our partnerships with Manheim, ADESA and SmartAuction on all of their online platforms,” Nierenberg said. “So that’s one aspect of wholesale remarketing that I think we’ve been really strong at for a number of years, particularly on the technology front.”
But Nierenberg says his company has led the way in working with traditional brick-and-mortar auction venues, an area of the business in which he still sees value amid the change.
“There’s still a tremendous amount of value in a good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar auction,” he said. “It still brings unique buyers to the venue, and still gives you an opportunity to understand in a bidding environment what the values of certain vehicles are, so I still view that as a valuable tool.”
How all of that translates into volume
Lattimer projects Enterprise will remarket more than 1.1 million cars in calendar year 2019, including various business units in addition to daily rental.
How does that compare to last year? It’s flat. Lattimer said remarketing has been “hovering around that area” for the past couple of years.
Nierenberg said Avis Budget does not disclose quantity, but he did say the company believes its volume would be up 5% to 10% in 2019 compared to 2018. Avis Budget Group has constantly grown its fleet, he said, noting particular growth in its “risk” fleet. He describes a risk vehicle as “we own it, we buy it, and we are responsible for the risk of selling it afterward.”
How the business has changed
Nierenberg and Lattimer also have various opinions on how the remarketing business has changed for the rental industry. Nierenberg brings up technology as a main area. He has been with the company almost three years, and at the time he arrived, the company was using technology to facilitate upstream sales. That is a different approach he said, than what he described as other rental companies’ “old fashioned” method of sending field representatives out and “pounding the pavement.”
“There’s value there,” Nierenberg said of that “pounding the pavement” approach. “They’re really successful at it, and that’s great, but we find there’s a better way to leverage technology by facilitating sales with the different platforms that we leverage and how that works. And standing behind the quality of your product, with pictures, with inspections, etc., we find that to be an efficient way to sell cars.”
Lattimer of Enterprise said the remarketing business has changed in how the importance of speed and efficiency have grown in recent years. Similar to his earlier comment about helping dealers procure inventory in the fast-paced used-car marketplace, he added that his company continues working to get cars off of the daily rental fleet and into the hands of its customers as quickly as possible.
“As we’ve seen that happen over the last years, we’ve had to adjust via personnel, via technology, by utilizing data, as much information as we can internally and externally to really assist our customers in getting inventory fast and well maintained, so they can turn around quickly and retail it,” Lattimer said.
Bells, whistles and the rental car of today
Today’s rental car looks quite a bit different than the rental car of yesterday, Lattimer said. They are much better equipped and maintained.
“The rental car you get in today just has all the bells and whistles that you expect in any new car that you would be looking for in a lot,” he said. “So, our products as they come, in my opinion, it’s such a better product for our dealers. It’s a wide variety for our dealerships to be able to choose from. They have a very wide variety of customers who come to buy cars, and thankfully we’ve got a wide product offering.”
To remarket those higher-quality vehicles, Nierenberg of Avis Budget said his company will continue challenging itself and the industry “to think about remarketing differently.”
“Ultimately, it’s a simple business,” Nierenberg said. “We’re selling cars, and we’re trying to sell them as quickly as we can for as much money as we can. So, continuing to think about how we can do that by leveraging technology is what we’re focused on.”