LAS VEGAS – From benchmarking and standardization to E-titling and forecasting residual values, the 10th annual Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) presented a wide-ranging update on key industry developments, market trends, technologies, and best practices.

A record number of nearly 500 remarketers attended the conference, held Feb. 16-18 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. They heard from more than 50 experts representing manufacturers, financial institutions, fleet and leasing management providers, auctions, and remarketing services companies.

The 2005 CAR featured three keynote speakers: Jed Connelly, senior VP, sales and marketing for Nissan North America; Julie Andersen, VP, Emercent Solutions; and Dean Eisner, president and CEO, Manheim.

Speaking on “Our Vision of Product and Residual Development,” opening keynoter Connelly proposed a different approach to the still-heavy manufacturer retail incentives, which threaten to “cannibalize future sales” for manufacturers and which significantly impact residual values.

“We have to condition the consumer not to expect incentives. We have to manage our way out of [the use of incentives],” Connelly said. He believes vehicle pricing and patience are key tactics. “Everyone has 3-4 great products that they can price right and then stick to that price for 60-90 days,” he said, citing DaimlerChrysler’s success with the Chrysler 300. “The 300 was priced right,” and the model has been “a home run” for Chrysler without the use of big incentives, he said.

Andersen, the luncheon keynote speaker, presented the results of a second annual remarketing survey Emercent conducted in collaboration with the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA).

The final keynote speaker, Eisner outlined five major remarketing industry trends over the next five years, noting that the key to success is how the change inherent in each trend is handled. Those trends include:

  • Processes. The streamlining and refining of the used-car sales process.

  • Technology. The evolution underlying much of the change revolutionizing the industry.

  • Information. Increasing amounts of data must be transformed into a “story” that informs decision making.

  • Benchmarking. Determining the right data to use.

  • People. Connecting personally with customers to “take the pulse of the marketplace,” remains critical to understanding it.

    CAR also featured 11 discussion panels offering expert perspectives on the current and future state of the remarketing industry.

    The IARA held its Roundtable program and Circle of Excellence Award Luncheon in conjunction with CAR. The Roundtable discussion focused on benchmarking and the standardization of condition report grading.

    Michael Hockett, CEO, Auction Broadcasting Co., was presented with the Circle of Excellence award. Hockett was praised for his ethical professionalism and contributions to the global community.