The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

In the Lane & Online: The Evolution of Remarketing

Vehicle remarketing has come a long way from its early “cattle” auction days. Advancements in technology have made it possible to reach a wider audience of prospective buyers.

March 2012, by Automotive Resources International

Technological advances have helped transform auto auctions. Automotive Resources International's Brian McBrearty and Jennifer Schade provide a live demonstration of the company's Remote Rep technology.
Technological advances have helped transform auto auctions. Automotive Resources International's Brian McBrearty and Jennifer Schade provide a live demonstration of the company's Remote Rep technology.

At a Glance

Vehicle remarketing has evolved with today’s technology. Advantages include:

  • Virtual representation of vehicles
  • Global reach
  • Immediate resale potential

According to remarketing lore, the very first wholesale auto auction was held in 1938. The credit goes to J.M. “Martin” Rawls, a farmer and car salesman from South Carolina. After attending a cattle auction in Columbia, he wondered if cars could also be sold the same way. In March 1938, Rawls and a partner built an auction booth in a nearby garage and hired Col. R.H. Sapp as their auctioneer. About 35 dealers watched as a Ford Model A and 40-50 other cars were driven through the line. The concept caught on and created the remarketing industry that we know today.

Now, after nearly 75 years, the humble auto auction is transforming from a series of unrelated local auctions to a connected network of physical and online high-tech auction events with a worldwide buying audience moving at the speed of information.

Evolving Platforms

Over the past 10 years, technological advances by remarketing companies have allowed for huge leaps in market exposure, information flow, transaction analysis, and geographic reach within the remarketing world.

It’s now possible for companies to fully operate the physical auction online and communicate directly with the auctioneer in hundreds of auto auctions across the country, from a state-of-the-art, high-tech remarketing command center. Technology allows a vehicle to be virtually represented each and every time it appears at auction by an expert remarketer.

“A virtual platform offers the best of both worlds, providing the continued presence in a proven sales atmosphere and the increased exposure and options of online resale sites,” said Bob Graham, vice president of vehicle remarketing at Automotive Resources International (ARI), a vehicle and equipment fleet management and remarketing company. “In my 39 years at ARI, I have seen remarketing technology evolve to become one of the most important tools for maximizing returns for clients.”

 In the early 2000s, ARI was one of the first to invest in the computer hardware and sophisticated software that enables multi-channel auction remarketing through physical and virtual auto auctions. Its remarketing arsenal has grown substantially since then, using physical in-lane and online auction capabilities while simultaneously being offered on multiple U.S. and European resale websites and its ARIAutoDirect site in order to decrease transportation costs and expenses while maximizing vehicle exposure. If a vehicle is sold at auction or on any of the company’s websites, the posting is automatically pulled from all other channels.

Exposure at auto auctions is no longer limited to buyers within a 150-mile radius. The worldwide buying and selling audience has significantly expanded in recent years, and there is no end in sight. Buyers from around the globe can now participate in an auction in Topeka, Kan., and Tallahassee, Fla., in the same day. The increased accessibility, participation, and online capabilities have shifted the remarketing process into warp speed.

When time is of the essence, remarketing reps can’t afford to wait two months to attend a local auction. Instead, they turn to online resale sites and auctions with virtual capabilities. This combination expands the vehicle exposure and provides immediate resale potential.

Improving Quality & Reliability

Improved information also plays a key role in the remarketing equation. The quality and reliability of vehicle condition reports have dramatically improved over the past decade. Buyers no longer need to “kick the tires” and look under the hood to feel confident about the vehicle’s condition. Not when the auction company or resale site provides a comprehensive condition report that it is willing to stand by.

Finally, the economic downturn has been a significant driver in the networked remarketing spike. Dealers are trying to do more with less, and, as a result, any opportunity to cut costs while increasing efficiency and return is welcomed with open arms. Additionally, the economy has created a high demand for well-maintained, used vehicles, correlating to a 30-percent increase in used car prices since 2008, according to ABC News. The demand, combined with the increased shortage of vehicles, will drive both bids and online participation in 2012.

According to remarketing lore, the very first wholesale auto auction was held in 1938. The credit goes to J.M. “Martin” Rawls, a farmer and car salesman from South Carolina.
According to remarketing lore, the very first wholesale auto auction was held in 1938. The credit goes to J.M. “Martin” Rawls, a farmer and car salesman from South Carolina.


Early auctioneers such as Rawls realized increased exposure would drive sales and this virtual market approach is an extension of that same concept. Online participation has consistently increased over the past 10 years, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Don’t get left in the dust. Remarketers and buyers alike need to familiarize themselves with the process if they want to win in 2012 and beyond.

 

Making Auction Milestones
  • 1940: 10,000 vehicles sold through auction
  • 1950: 100,000 vehicles sold at auction
  • 1975: Auction sales hit 1.25 million vehicles
  • 1980: Auction sales soar to 3 million units
  • 1990: Auction sales exceed 7 million units

 

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