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The International Automotive Remarketing Alliance (IARA) 2020 Virtual Summer Roundtable was hosted online, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, and was highlighted by discussions from key figures in the remarketing industry on how they’ve thrived in the current climate and their efforts for the future. 

The virtual event kicked off with a morning introduction from IARA President Paul Seger who gave an overview on what to expect from the roundtable, the current state of the IARA and its initiatives, and how the events of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the remarketing industry.

“Our industry was faced with challenges beyond any of our imaginations,” said Seger. “We as an organization, you as an organization, and us as an industry had to pivot overnight on the way we did businesses. And we did. Within 45 days, we came roaring back like a lion just to show you how resilient our industry is.”

A Full Day of Education

Following the opening introduction, Steve Greenfield, CEO and founder of Automotive Ventures, hosted a presentation titled “What's on the Horizon for Consignors?” and gave insight on the consignor marketplace and expectations for the future. 

He gave a general overview on industry trends, and elaborated on how certain industry behaviors, such as auction sales and prices, will be difficult to predict moving forward. But, he noted a continued certainty that digital sales will remain key for major auctions like Manheim and KAR Global, while some independent auctions are pivoting some of their focus back to in-lane sales. He also addressed the scope of new technological disruptors in the auction industry.

“The truth is, there’s a lot of new ways now that a dealer can consign a vehicle, and doesn’t have to ship it to a physical auction, but also there are a lot of new ways where dealers can buy vehicles,” said Greenfield. He also gave an overview on technologies that are going to impact the wholesale channel and consignors, and innovations being made to vehicle condition reports.

Following this, Greenfield hosted a panel titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” where he moderated a group of leading consignors representing various industry segments on how they are responding to the "new normal" and changes in the wholesale markets. 

This panel featured Brent Huisman, SVP of asset remarketing and repossession, Exeter Finance; Patrick Huibers, manager of customer retention and remarketing, Honda Financial Services; Darrin Aiken, AVP of vehicle remarketing, Wheels, Inc., Melanie Glaze, fleet sales, U-Haul International; and Douglas Campbell, vice president, Americas, Avis Budget Group. Conversation points discussed included how consignors were adapting to the pivot toward digital sales during the pandemic, the state of condition reports, how staff reductions have impacted their businesses, expectations of the market in the future, and more.

After this Steve Jordan, CEO, NIADA, hosted a panel discussion with dealers to gain their perspectives on what's ahead in the industry and how they are adapting to current changes. The panel featured Dan Reel, president and founder, Reel’s Auto; Luke Godwin, independent business owner, Godwin Motors; Mark Jones, CEO, Mike Carlson Motors Company; and Shaun Peterson, interim-executive vice president, NIADA. 

Panelists discussed some of the biggest priorities that dealers are trying to address during their pandemic recovery. Topics included the need to acquire wholesale inventory, and some subsequent logistical challenges; getting customers back to dealerships; and maintaining steady cash flow to handle finances.

This was followed by a luncheon keynote presentation from Melinda Zabritski, senior director, Experian, who examined several key areas of the automotive finance market and discussed how these trends will impact remarketing professionals. 

Topics addressed during the presentation included a look at the kinds of vehicles that are on the road today; affordability in auto finance and shifts in purchase patterns; leasing and repossession trends; consumer credit and origination trends; and the impact COVID-19 has had on auto financing.

Following the keynote were three concurrent discussions on essential industry topics, which focused on: logistics, repossessions, and titling.

The panel on logistics was moderated by Joe Miller, VP of client experience, AutoIMS. The panel included Adam Laura, VP of business development, Acertus; Dan Kennedy, SVP business development, CT Services; Mike Trudeau, executive VP of business development, Montway; and Sean Cabin, chief compliance officer, RCG Logistics. Key topics addressed included driver carrier shortages from the pandemic, and inventory spikes that have been impacting used-vehicle prices.

Another current discussion on repossessions was moderated by Jeff Bescher, president, Strategic Remarketing Solutions. Panelists included Tim Meta, VP remarketing, Fifth Third Bank; Rob Wagner, CAR, repossession and recovery manager, Kinecta Federal Credit Union; Jessie Herdrich-Irwin, VP compliance and operations, PAR North America; Jose Delgado, chief client officer, Location Services; and Paul Marquez, VP asset recovery, Servicing Solutions. 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was a key point of discussion during this panel, particularly with regards to employees working remotely, and the overall impact on business activity, e.g. extensions being given, delinquency rates, and other hardship considerations.

The third concurrent session addressed titling, and was hosted by Keith Whetter, VP sales, Liquid Motors, and featured Stacey White, SVP remarketing, PAR North America. Topics covered during this discussion also addressed how the industry is adapting to the impact of the pandemic, particularly changes to title turnaround times due to DMV closures or reduced staffing. Current processing time delays for various states were also discussed.

Following the concurrent sessions was a panel discussion on “The New Business Dynamic of Physical Auctions,” which was moderated by Charlie Vogelheim, industry relations/moderator, Auction Academy. The panelists for the discussion included John Hammer, president, ADESA; Jon Brasher, executive director, ServNet Auctions; Patrick Brennan, SVP of Marketplace, Manheim; John Swofford, VP, America’s Auto Auction; Pat Dudash, SVP, sales, Xlerate Group; and Lynn Weaver, executive director, Independent Auction Group. 

The panelists discussed the challenges in addressing various state, county, or local regulatory issues that pertained to handling business activity amid the pandemic. Challenges toward marketing auction activities to consignors and customers was also addressed, particularly with current emphasis on digital bidding. Challenges regarding low inventory at auction was also a key talking point.

This was followed by a final keynote presentation from Blake Stratton of Michael Hyatt & Co. He presented a four-step system to attendees that is designed to help people grow their business and improve their productivity while working less.

Seger closed out the day during a wrap-up presentation, which also featured Laura Taylor, president, National Auto Auction Association, who gave an overview on the current state of the NAAA. 

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Seger also encouraged attendees to attend the 2020 Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) Experience virtual conference on Oct. 12 - 16, 2020, and announced the dates for the 20th annual IARA Summer Roundtable which is slated to be held in-person, Aug. 24 - 26, 2021 in San Antonio, Tex.

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