CAR 2004 attracted standing room only attendance as 409 remarketers attended the conference at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The 9th annual Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR), known throughout the industry as the consignor's show, attracted 409 remarketers to the annual meeting which was held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas on Jan. 21-23.
Attendees included a who's who of remarketers, representing 14 auto manufacturers, 26 financial institutions, 12 major car rental companies, nine of the 10 largest fleet management companies, the three major auction chains, and independent auctions.
The opening day keynote speaker was Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager, Toyota Division, His presentation was entitled "The Perfect Storm," in which Esmond recapped the convergence of events that swamped the used-car business with stagnant prices, overly optimistic residual projections, and a deluge of off-lease vehicles. Esmond predicted a rebound in used vehicle values as a result of the decreasing number of off-lease vehicles entering the wholesale market, rising consumer confidence, an improving national economy, and the country's growing population. In addition, Esmond cited the growth in high-income households with greater discretionary income and the increase in the number of vehicles that are owned by the average family. Esmond said Toyota is forecasting 2004 calendar year new-vehicle sales to be between 16.9-17 million units. "This would tie the third best sales year ever," he said. Esmond went on to predict that 17 million new vehicle sales will become the new industry norm, with peaks in the 20 million range. "Since used vehicle sales are two-and-a-half times as large as new vehicle sales, this would represent annual sales of 50 million used vehicles," said Esmond. Currently, annual used vehicle sales are in the 40-million-unit range.
Charlie Vogelheim (right), executive editor of Kelley Bluebook, presents Michael Addison, president of Dealers Auto Exchange, with the “Own a Ranch for a Week” in Steamboat Springs, Colo., prize which he won at CAR 2004.
The lunch keynote speaker was Rob Chesney, director, national sales of eBay Motors, who spoke of the growth of eBay Motors and how remarketers are selling used vehicles from the consumer web site. Chesney joined eBay Motors in September 2001, and is responsible for all sales and new business efforts. Previously, he was the director of business development with TradeOut.com, where he was instrumental in developing the business-to-business online marketplace providing auto dealers the opportunity to source inventory directly from financial institutions and rental-car companies.
The second day keynoter was Chip Perry, president and CEO of AutoTrader.com. Perry said that currently 13 automotive brands were using the site, with 16,000 participating dealers, and 239,000 registered vehicles. Perry reported that AutoTrader.com usage increased more than 20 percent over the prior year.
Among the other presenters at CAR 2004 were: Jeff Heichel of GM, Mike McHale of GMAC, Linda Silverstein of Ford, Keith Helfrich of DaimlerChysler, Kent Pace of Toyota Financial Services, Bob Graham of ARI, Layne Weber of Donlen, Dave Langley of American Honda Finance Corp., Brent Sergot of CenterOne Financial Services, Steve Wallerstein of Subaru, and 53 other speakers.
Ed Bobit, CEO of Bobit Publishing in Torrance, Calif., congratulates Jay Doyle (right), U.S. regional manager of TIQ TOQ, after winning the Oceania Cruise prize at CAR 2004.
Two of the highlights of this year's conference were two prize giveaways. Jay Doyle, U.S. regional manager of TIQ TOQ won an Oceania Cruise to an exotic destination of his choice, which included Barcelona, Venice, and Rome, or the Greek Isles to Istanbul. Another lucky winner was Michael Addison, president of Dealers Auto Exchange, who won the prize “Own a Ranch for a Week.” Addison will "own" a dude ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for an entire week of summertime activities as well as a private residence for up to eight people. His activities will include: horseback riding, ATV rides, party barge (pontoon boat), fishing, 2 1/2 days of white water rafting trips, passes to the Hot Springs Health and Fitness Club located in Steamboat Springs, nature walks, and elk and nature photo safaris. For details on giveaway locations go to www.OceaniaCruises.com and www.Bearmountainranch.net.
Mark your calendars! CAR 2005 will take place on Feb. 16-18, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.