How Technology Will Change Traditional Fleet Remarketing
When you want to look ahead, it is usually best to reflect on the past. When we look back on where we’ve come from to where we are, we create a vision for the future.
About 12 years ago, we started to hear the initial noise of all the dot.coms and the Internet in various industries and how it would revolutionize the remarketing industry, replacing brick-and-mortar auctions.
It was also a time when the leasing phenomenon would begin to return an onslaught of vehicles to the marketplace. Commercial sellers were looking for new ways to attract more buyers for their increased volumes, as well as find ways to reduce overall cost of sales. The Internet was the answer. It worked for other industries — banking, newspapers, and airlines. Why shouldn’t it work in the remarketing industry?
As the newly appointed CEO of ADESA in 1996, I sat with many of the industry leaders: Darryl Ceccoli with Manheim, Tony Moorby with ADT Automotive, and well-respected independents, Larry Tribble, Ray Nichols, Larry Brasher, and others to share thoughts on how our industry could work together to put a fence around our customers, preventing outside third parties from putting us out of business.
The quote that has remained vividly in all our minds, and has been referenced many times since, came from Darryl Ceccoli when he stated, “We need to jointly create a single system that we could offer to all our customers.”
He referred to it as “a set of railroad tracks” on which we could all travel together with our customers. Darryl probably did not realize the impact of his statement and how it is reflected on to this day.
Walking away from our initial meetings in Dana Point, Calif., we began to try to figure out how all of this could possibly work.
Keeping in mind competitive differences, distinct cultures, independent resources, and individual philosophical beliefs, the question was, “Where should we place our bet?"
Starting with AucNet
This all started with a company known as AucNet. The company originated in the Japanese auto industry, where cars were successfully being sold electronically in a theater-style facility using joysticks and keypads.
AucNet likely created the impetus for Manheim and ADT Automotive years ago to begin listing and selling vehicles electronically, first on simple bulletin boards and then using interactive online sales.
Taking First Electronic Steps
Manheim’s first program was known as “Cyberlots,” with which I became very familiar early on because ADESA partnered with Manheim in 1996.
Manheim’s parent company, Cox Communications, was familiar with electronic listings through its newspaper business and particularly the Auto Trader publication (which later became AutoConnect). It was a natural progression to begin to list classified ads on electronic bulletin boards.
ADT Automotive was also looking hard at electronic business and probably conducted the earliest electronic auction within the industry on ADT Lion. In fact, ADT patented this electronic auction system, and it has continued to impact our industry.
Knowing the industry was moving into the electronic marketplace and having only a limited partnership with Manheim’s Cyberlots, ADESA entered into a more comprehensive alliance with ADT to work on technology initiatives, especially online selling.
About this time, all the major chains and independents created an industry consortium, pooling resources to offer the remarketing industry a universal inventory management tool.