IARA President Paul Seger speaks at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing in Las Vegas on June 15, 2021. - Photo: Bobit

IARA President Paul Seger speaks at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing in Las Vegas on June 15, 2021.

Photo: Bobit

When the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) gathers in San Antonio, Texas, next month, the remarketing industry members will navigate a full agenda --- during and around all the official sessions and meetings.

Because of the pandemic, the IARA has gone two years without a live in-person meeting, which makes the annual Summer Roundtable long overdue.

“We were not able to host a face-to-face event last year, so people are doubling down on this one,” said IARA President Paul Seger, also the vice president of asset remarketing for Element Fleet Management. “People want to find out how everyone is because this is a close-knit industry where people have known each other for a while.”

The IARA expects possibly 300 attendees at the event to be held Aug. 24-26 at the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk; well beyond the usual 200-250 attendees.

That projection mirrors the recent Conference of Automotive Remarketing held in Las Vegas June 15-17 that drew 400+ total attendees and participants. While still below pre-pandemic levels, the event exceeded expectations and was considered a success by the host company, Bobit Business Media.

The IARA conference with exhibitors will have a dynamic agenda that spans many of the industry developments, trends, and upheavals that happened since the onset of COVID pandemic in March 2020.

State of (Digital) Auctions

The topic of the event in and out of the seminar rooms and throughout the aisles is likely to focus on the state of the current used vehicle market, which has been an upward whirlwind, but shows signs of coming down and leveling off, said Seger in a recent interview with Vehicle Remarketing.

As IARA and the remarketing industry look ahead, digital auction events and sales will continue to influence and transform the buying and selling of vehicles, Seger said.

During the next two years, the industry should look to see how the market reshapes among the key segments of auction operations. There will be strong competition among Cox/Manheim and KAR Global/Adesa, as well as independent auction networks such as America’s Group, XLerate Group, and Dealer Autos Auction Group.  

“There are a lot of moving pieces with everyone building their bench strength from a service offering standpoint,” Seger said. “A lot of how they play out will depend on what happens with our economy and the marketplace.”

“With a strong vibrant market like we’ve been seeing, everything sells well and every channel looks great,” he added. “When the market becomes more challenging and you have to be strategic, that’s when it will be interesting to see which of the service offerings from suppliers are more successful.”  

Creating a Profitable Electric Vehicle Market

One of the leading industry challenges and topics is how to fully incorporate electric vehicles into auction processes and set commonly accepted standards for them. At an IARA consignors meeting during the CAR event June 15, about 75% of the discussion centered on the future used electric vehicle market, said Seger, adding EVs are still a relative unknown to the remarketing industry and a vehicle segment it has not dealt with before.

“There were some different visions and every one of them has a strong point,” he said. “It will be interesting to see which one of them comes out on top. We clearly want to be a leader at the end of this.”

Seger serves as co-chair of the IARA’s EV initiative along with John Mathiowetz, vice president of commercial sales of Insurance Auto Auctions Inc., and Steve Greenfield, CEO and founder of Automotive Ventures.

The IARA plans to help inform industry members on proposed standards, Seger said. The industry now has a rare opportunity and time to discuss standardization before EVs enter the used vehicle and auction markets in much higher numbers in coming years. 

Standardization will involve validating battery quality and lifespans, safety components, sales announcements, and condition reports, he said.

Remarketed EVs will be “only as good as how they do in the secondary marketplace,” Seger said. “Taking a strategic approach to look at that and make sure you are creating best remarketing options available for strong residual values is critical.”

The IARA must make sure it and industry groups such as National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) take the initiative on EVs, since the industry would not want an entity outside of its space, such as a government agency, to come in and set standards without understanding the big picture and nuances of the remarketing structure and processes, Seger said.

How the remarketing industry absorbed hybrid vehicles into the auction markets can serve as a guide to the future industry handling of electric vehicles among, he added.

The IARA will conduct six webinars leading into the roundtables, which will include one on EVs. Members there will be able to talk more specifically about ideas, progress and goals.

IARA Offers Complete Coverage of Industry Matters

Another primary component of the IARA Roundtable are the committee meetings and executive board meetings where they review association accomplishments and conduct annual plans and reviews.

The group will also recognize industry professionals who’ve received the Certified Automotive Remarketer (CAR) certification and the winners of the annual Circle of Excellence and Ed Bobit awards.

Other IARA Roundtable highlights include:

  • Sidebar meetings along with agenda topic sessions
  • Hosted evening events for extended networking time
  • Keynote speaker Josh Linker, who will focus on applying innovation in business to drive explosive growth. “The time is now ripe to expand your business from a growth perspective,” Seger said. https://joshlinkner.com/
  • A closing session with the incoming and outgoing leaders of Odessa and Manheim, who will talk about their experiences, future plans, and how the industry is evolving.
  • The IARA will welcome Jeff Bescher, president and founder of Strategic Remarketing Solutions, as its incoming president as Seger finishes his two-year term in August. “Jeff and I are business partners and he will continue the momentum,” Seger said. “We’ll have a consistent strategic approach to moving the IARA forward and realize the opportunities and complete initiatives we have out there.”

“This IARA Roundtable agenda is very timely and it can help industry members get the information they need to do better jobs and their companies,” Seger said. “I can’t see how you can miss attending this. It’s so critical at this time.”

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