If you don’t count the traumas of the pandemic during the last two years, you would conclude the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance pulled off its best period to date since its founding in 2001.
But they had to handle many of the same unpleasant challenges that disrupted the remarketing industry sector and much of the economy overall. Despite those setbacks, the IARA still came out ahead since 2020, which they detailed in their latest round of meetings and sessions March 22-23 at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing.
Shake-Ups & Disruptors
In his opening conference remarks on March 23, IARA President Jeff Bescher summed up the long list of changes and global events roiling the remarketing industry now and during the last two years. He cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s potential reactions, shifting economics with higher interest rates and inflation, the movement to remote work, supply chain constraints, the surge in electric vehicle sales, emerging automotive manufacturers and vendors, and speedier technologies.
Closer to the industry home, Bescher said, remarketers are seeing sweeping transitions, such as more online vehicle transactions, digital marketplaces, and a “complete transformation in the car buying and selling experience” spurred by two major recent acquisitions: the sale of ADESA to Carvana and XLerate Group’s purchase of America’s Auto Auction.
“The IARA is here now and will be in the future to shed light on what these changes mean and how it will all affect us,” Bescher told the opening audience. “We just celebrated 20 years and are happy to report the IARA survived and thrived during the past two years. We kept a steady pace during the pandemic, increased membership, established an investment program, and increased our financial standing during the two years of shutdowns and cancellations.”
During an IARA board of directors meeting the day before, Bescher said the alliance has exceeded its key 2019 benchmarks of membership, revenue, certification graduates and conference participation.
ACT Out Front
Among its most recent accomplishments, the alliance formally launched its ACT (Audit and Compliance Training) program that consists of several educational modules to help consignors and remarketers get up to speed on regulations and best practices in wholesale remarketing.
The IARA Audit and Compliance Training (ACT) explains legal and customer requirements applicable to the remarketing industry and provides best practices for management and front-line employees to comply with the requirements. It also focuses on the types of information and systems that require protection.
With legal rules increasing on consignors and remarketing companies to protect the privacy of personal, financial and other sensitive data involved in the remarketing cycle, ACT training is intended to help protect against legal and customer violations. It is also designed to foster a common platform for "Know Your Third Party" audits used by regulated consignors.
ACT is offered as management training to identify legal and customer requirements imposed on each business, and employee training to help every employee identify compliance obligations daily. The IARA — which developed ACT with the law firm of its attorney James Demetry of Demetry, DeCarlo & Coffman, LLC of Atlanta — will update the training modules as requirements change. Demetry authored and structured the compliance modules which require the trainee to correctly answer questions after each module.
The Management ACT training consists of five modules, and costs $100 for IARA members and $200 for non-members:
- Physical and Environmental Security
- Information Standards and Security
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Human Resources and Business Operations
The All-Employee ACT training also consists of five modules, and costs $50 for IARA members and $100 for non-members:
- Introduction and Overview
- Federal Laws and Customer Requirements
- Physical Security
- Information Systems and Security
Likewise, the IARA’s flagship program, the prestigious Certified Automotive Remarketer (CAR) program for advanced industry professional training earlier this year recorded its 300th program graduate.
The straightforward, structured certification consists of 20 modules at $50 each, or $1,000 total, that enables industry professionals to gain an affordable credential that helps them move up in their careers and influence operations with better practices. It also has grown into a strong and steady revenue source for the IARA.
The IARA held its first meetings under a restructured committee system that consolidates roles and functions into broader committees supported by sub-committees. Among the open forum committee meetings held March 22: Industry Advancement, Conference & Events, Education & Compliance, and Marketing & Engagement.
- During the meetings, committee chairs reported consistent growth across social media and discussed plans to update the IARA.biz website to boost its value proposition and that of the alliance.
- The advancement committee and industry standards subcommittee are continuing work on developing common electric vehicle assessment, condition report, and handling standards in tandem with the standards committee of the National Auto Auction Association. The committee as compiled a common glossary of terms related to EVs and are working with the marketing committee to distribute to the industry. They are also focused on talking with EV buyers and users of charging infrastructure to learn more about their operations that can better inform common industry EV standards.
- The IARA anticipates a resurgent annual Summer Roundtable conference to be held Aug. 16-18 at the downtown Hilton in Nashville, Tennessee, following record attendance at its 2021 Roundtable in San Antonio, Texas. The event provides an industry forum for educational sessions, keynotes, awards, and meetings devoted to the latest industry topics and issues.