When a fleet management company representative or commercial fleet manager uses the TradeRev app to conduct a used-vehicle inspection, the inspection time is currently about five minutes. TradeRev is a mobile app and desktop product that facilitates real-time dealer-to-dealer vehicle auctions.
“By the end of this year, it should be under two minutes,” said Becca Polak, TradeRev president. “For customers with large fleets, that’s going to make all the difference in terms of time it takes to inspect their cars and have a really robust condition report.”
Polak also serves as chief legal officer for TradeRev’s parent company, KAR Auction Services, which is also the parent company of vehicle remarketing company ADESA, Automotive Finance Corp. (AFC), and Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA). KAR originally purchased half of TradeRev in 2014 and completed the transaction last year to gain 100% ownership in the company.
TradeRev's Origin Story
The business focuses on technology that allows users to launch live, one-hour auctions anytime by using their smartphones, tablets, or desktops. The technology started out as a dealer-to-dealer mobile app, but the company has added services ever since in response to customer needs. TradeRev only conducted business in Canada at the start, but it has grown to now serve U.S. and U.K. customers. As the company’s growth continued, commercial fleets, fleet management companies, and OEMs began asking if they could sell their own cars on the app, so TradeRev added that capability.
“They have seen how they can take large fleets of cars, and instead of waiting a week, two weeks, or a month to sell them off, they can sell them within the hour,” Polak said, adding that the app’s inspection tool allows users to perform a full condition report on the car, with high-resolution pictures and up to three videos so potential buyers can hear the engine as if they are live on site.
“The only thing we don’t have is the ability to smell the car, but you can really do a full inspection of a car in under five minutes,” she said.
She also touted the company’s physical infrastructure advantage over its competitors, with more than 300 locations nationwide. If a commercial fleet or fleet management company does not have enough property to store its vehicles, TradeRev will store them at one of its locations. Some TradeRev fleet customers take their vehicles to a TradeRev physical auction site and launch the vehicle sales on TradeRev from there. If the vehicles do not sell, the fleet can sell them in-lane at the physical auction.
Coming Into the KAR Auction Family
Now that the sale of TradeRev to KAR is complete, TradeRev has big plans for the future, including gaining a stronger footprint in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., as well as expanded use of its artificial intelligence technology known as “H.” This technology includes an artificial intelligence-driven automated condition report visualization tool and several recently released data and predictive analytics capabilities. TradeRev co-founder Mark Endras has said, “There’s a lot of artificial intelligence out there, but we created ‘H’ to be hyper-focused ‘auction intelligence.’”
TradeRev is currently conducting a pilot program with an OEM’s commercial finance company. As off-lease vehicles arrive at the dealer’s lot, the finance company posts it to TradeRev. That same day, TradeRev’s “H” technology allows a dealer inspection of that vehicle.
“As soon as the car comes in that day, they can sell it that day in an hour as opposed to waiting around, getting a mass of cars, and maybe taking it to the physical auction and selling it to wholesalers,” Polak said. She explained that a finance company needing to dispose of thousands of off-lease cars at once can now avoid going to an auction website or to a physical auction.
Polak added that large fleet leasing companies and other sellers have begun to “build a brand” on TradeRev. Event sales is one example. If a leasing company holds a regular auction at 10 a.m. on Thursdays, for example, and gains a reputation for doing a good job, TradeRev’s buyer base of primarily independent dealers and some wholesalers around the country begin to trust that leasing company’s sales.