Last year, the annual IARA Summer Roundtable took on an agenda for an industry and vehicle market wracked by a global pandemic and looking how to adjust.
This year, even bigger disruptions and changes are redefining remarketing and the approaches of consignors, auctions, and dealers, leading to an agenda that will emphasize “transformative change,” said the president of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance in a preview of the event being held Aug. 16-18 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We’ve not seen the kind of structural shifts before in our industry that we are going through now,” said 2021-23 IARA President Jeff Bescher, citing electric vehicle adoption, shifts in the global economy spurred by the different economic approaches of China versus the U.S. and Western economies. “We have not seen the disruption of rules-based organizations that have been controlling international trade.”
Bescher sees the Summer Roundtable as a sequel to the IARA’s programming at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing in Las Vegas on March 22-24.
“There is so much going on in our industry. We’ve never been through what is happening now. We’re seeing a complete changeover of how cars are built while also looking at a possible realignment of an economic world order that’s been in place since WWII.”
The IARA is bringing in outside experts on such topics as cybersecurity to complement industry perspectives. “What we’re trying to do is present and share the information that will drive strategy for our members so they can succeed going forward,” Bescher said.
Two specific topics that will command attendee attention are the outlook for vehicle volume among consignors and where the economy overall is heading in this volatile environment, Bescher said.
“Some are saying we’re already in a recession. How does that impact business? Affect prices of used cars? People don’t have as much disposable income as before, forcing them to cut back on expenses. What’s the effect of the current economic situation on vehicle values now and in the immediate future and how do remarketers adjust to that?”
State of the Industry
As IARA president, Bescher leads the organization’s message on the state of the consignment industry and overall remarketing economic environment.
“We’re still looking for more cars,” he said. “Every consignor is asking where are the cars? We’re seeing an uptick in repos, but the supply and demand issues are still out of whack and will be for quite a while. That affects fleet members, rental car members, and OEMs. What will happen now with prices? What we’ve seen is later model, low mileage cars are hitting home runs. Older cars with higher miles have become softer in the market. Dealers are being pickier about what kind of inventory they will put on their lots.”
Based on the latest projections, Bescher sees the consignment and vehicle supply market returning to a more normal pace in mid- to late-2023. The remarketing industry will adjust to volumes and moving vehicles, he said.
“I think it will be tough to have a soft landing in the U.S.,” he said. “We may see a cut in demand for vehicles from the consumer standpoint. Businesses are doing well and hiring is still up. Business activity is strong. Pick-up trucks and vans will still have high demand. I think some of the other segments will show softening demand as inflation picks up and consumers cut back on what they might be spending.”
Electric Vehicles Accelerate into Market
Meanwhile, consignors need to look for many new models emerging as electric vehicle production expands. That raises the question of how manufacturers will balance factory output of EVs versus internal combustion engine vehicles.
Along with EV data analytics, the Roundtable will examine how the nation and world will create enough charging infrastructure for EVs, and how such vehicles could plug into the power grid and supply energy, Bescher said.
Sessions Spur Business Conversations
Given the pent up demand for business networking since the pandemic emerged, the IARA is seeing high registration trends and a record number of IARA members, Bescher said. The alliance already had to expand its room block in late June for the event.
Attendees will be able to gain knowledge from experts, network, see where the remarketing industry is headed, and get a sense of what partners are doing, Bescher said. “We’ll offer information for real world innovation.”
“The value of the IARA is to provide information and insights about what is going on and what strategies are being pursued by various companies to drive success,” he said.