After DaimlerChrysler Financial Services hired Allison Kline in 2003 as a member of an internal consulting team focused on strategic projects such as new product launches, her first assignment was in the area of remarketing. She had no expertise in remarketing at the time.
“I was brought in to help redesign dealer engagement at the lease turn-in process,” in anticipation of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services’ high volume of lease returns around the mid- to late-2000s, she said. The captive finance company was looking for best practices on how to maximize all of its sales channels to engage dealers, increase sales, and support the brand.
She was impressed with Eckart Klumpp, who was vice president of remarketing and who is now senior vice president of sales and marketing at Hyundai Capital America. She described him as “proactive and visionary.”
“When the major volume came in, he was proactively managing how we would minimize our losses,” she said. “I liked working in that organization because of how forward-thinking they were and how he was trying to put a strategy in place that would benefit the organization a year or two down the road when all this volume came back. He was trying different things, challenging the norm, and I liked working in that environment. That was my first introduction to remarketing.”
She went on to perform other project work for DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, and she accepted a position in remarketing under Klumpp. The remarketing business is interesting to Kline because it is continually evolving. But she noted that through the evolution, the goal remains the same: to minimize losses, minimize cost, sell faster, and earn more. She added that industry members can follow various best practices such as auction consolidation to reach those goals.
While at DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, she worked with major auction houses and always had good experiences working with Manheim.
“I had good experiences with most of the auction houses, but Manheim stood out due to their position as an industry leader and my respect for many of the leaders there,” she said. “I was always impressed with Manheim and how they delivered on results and what they were able to deliver from a technology and data perspective.” The more soul searching she did and the more she learned about Manheim, the more interested she became in joining the company. Leaders from Manheim who she respected reached out to her about an open positions at the time she was ready to make a change.
She made the move to Manheim in January 2017 and now leads national and regional commercial sales teams. The teams sell Manheim services to non-OEM-related commercial clients, such as banks, credit unions, rental car companies, and fleets. Her group sells Cox Automotive products as well as Manheim-specific auction services.
Asked what trends she is seeing in customer product requests, she answered, “People are very interested in data.” She mentioned Manheim Express, a mobile-app tool her company launched in March that offers dealers the ability to sell directly from their lots prior to moving the inventory to auction. Kline said her group would get involved with Manheim Express if Manheim offered the products to a commercial client.
Manheim offers its customers real-time data on vehicles as well as information about what types of sales are occurring in the industry. Many companies are interested in data-mining that information. “Where should they sell, where should they price, and how can they maximize values within their portfolio based off of what information is available: A lot of clients are inquiring along those lines.”
Staying on top of issues such as those is one reason Manheim joined IARA, and Kline replaced retiring Chuck Novince as Manheim’s IARA representative in February. But she had long been familiar with IARA since former ARI president Bob Graham introduced her to the organization several years earlier. Since then, she has always seen the value in the association. She is especially impressed with IARA’s certification and training programs.
“Anytime we can help educate and escalate people’s knowledge and skillset and try to create some consistency across organizations, I think everyone benefits, and it validates the whole industry,” she said.
She also likes that IARA helps promote issues that are important to consignors, through lobbying or representing consignors and the overall profession in coming up with industry guidelines.
“I think IARA plays an important role in trying to promote industry-wide issues, taking a stand on those, and trying to lobby whichever organization has an influence,” she said.