The automotive remarketing industry won't exactly return to where it was before the pandemic, as new digital technologies enhance auction activity and more electric vehicles move into the new and used vehicle marketplaces, according to session speakers at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) held in Las Vegas last week.
About 350 attendees and vendors, not counting host team staff from Bobit Business Media, came to the conference June 15-17, the first CAR event since March 2019. CAR, which was also livestreamed to virtual attendees, served as the first professional gathering for the industry and for Bobit since the start of the COVID pandemic, and ranked among the first events held since March 2020 in Las Vegas, which fully reopened to meetings and conventions this month.
New Realities Mean No Turning Back
Slipping in and out of protective masks, attendees seemed relieved to be mingling through the Caesars Palace convention center in a semi-normal in-person enviroment, ready to take stock of how vehicle remarketing professionals are coming out of a challenging business period while looking ahead to robust vehicle values and auction activity redefined by technologies that expand digital access to vehicle sales and deals.
"Where do we go from here? Not exactly back to where it was," said Peter Kelly, the CEO of KAR Global, during his June 16 presentation, "A Vision for the Auctions of Tomorrow."
Auction marketplaces will become increasingly digitized to complement in the traditional physical in-lane versions, Kelly told attendees. That will lead to stronger, simpler outcomes for buyers and sellers, who can benefit from 24/7 liquidity, broader geographic reach, more eyes on the car, wider vehicle selections, faster cycle times, more proceeds, and safer outcomes, he said.
The digital platfroms will remove time and place contraints that will increase the speed and likelihood of connecting the right buyers with the right sellers, Kelly said. The combination of 24/7 liquidity and wider reach will lead to a more efficient allocation of auctioned vehicles along with stronger vehicle values and better returns.
EVs Ready to Gain Market Share
The next day, keynoter Jennifer Costable, the general director of marketing, sales, operations and used vehicle activities for General Motors, examined how electrich vehicles will change the mix of vehicles that GM remarkets at auction and what auctions and used-vehicle remarketers can do to better position themselves to leverage the growing market of used EVs to their benefit.
She outlined how GM's anticipated increase in EV models, battery manufacturing architecture, and charging stations support will empower fleet EVs on three fronts: Dedicated vehicles that drivers can take home; pool fleet vehicles parked at central locations; and public on-the-go vehicles that do not require a charging investment. GM plans to use fleet turnkey providers for EV fleet support services.
GM's goal is to build a complete EV fleet solution spanning multiple models at all price points with an eco-system of full battery, charging, connected technology, and product support, Costabile said. "GM has the experts, support, and consultants to help fleet with every aspect of EV experiences and choices."
Faster Digital Auction Tools
If there was one visual element at the confernece that conveyed the reality of a digital future it was the Black Widow Imaging demo that occupied center spot in the exhibit area open for select hours on June 16 and 17. A Genesis surrouned by high resolution digital cameras showed how such a system can accurately speed up the in-lane auction evaluations of vehicles as they come through, as well as document details and specs on any vehicle anywhere that can be recorded where the system is set up.
Black Widow can help auction staff with reconditional reports and evaluations with its ability to pick up scratches, dents and markings. The system automatically scans vehicles parked on a plate and takes the pictures that feed information into a report. Information: Black Widow Imaging