IAA opens new Wyoming branch


Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA), a business unit of KAR Auction Services, has opened a new branch in Casper, Wyo. 

With this move, IAA now has locations in all 50 states. 

The company announced Friday that its new IAA Casper branch sits on eight acres of land, which provides enough room for any possible expansion in the future.

“We listened to our customers and are giving them more coverage in the western market with a place for more inventory — helping to reduce transportation time and costs and selling cycle times,” IAA chief executive officer and president John Kett said in a news release.

The new branch hosts sale days each Wednesday and preview days on Tuesdays, according to IAA.

“Our newest location in Casper, Wyoming secures our position as a leader in the salvage auction business and allows us to better serve our customers seamlessly across the nation,” added Kett.

The IAA Casper branch is located at 2305 Salt Creek Highway.

5 features of DriveTime’s new wholesale buying tool

TEMPE, Ariz. - 

DriveTime retails a lot of metal to consumers through its nationwide footprint of dealerships.

Now the company wants to help its inventory buyers acquire necessary units from the wholesale space.

Earlier this week, DriveTime announced what it’s dubbed the “Genius Way to Buy a Car” at auctions with the launch of Buyonic.

Available on either desktop or mobile device, DriveTime explained Buyonic is an internally developed application to streamline, automate and reinvent the auction purchasing process. 

“We’re excited about the features and early successes of Buyonic,” said Peter Hermes, managing director of inventory at DriveTime.

The features of Buyonic include:

• Pre-filtered vehicle lists guiding buy strategy and live auction actions

• Recommended purchase values

• Live performance tracking

• Capture estimated reconditioning value

• Real time adaptability on purchasing needs

“We began piloting Buyonic with our online buyers beginning in December of last year, and it is now in use with all of our in-lane and online buyers,” said Maureen Needham, director of IT for inventory at DriveTime.

“We are already planning enhancements including recommended delivery location and automated condition report evaluation,” Needham said.

Colin Bachinsky, vice president of inventory, elaborated as to why DriveTime is taking on this endeavor.

“While continuing to be a leader in automotive digital retailing, DriveTime is also innovating in other areas of our business,” Bachinsky said. “Long term, we expect our most recent innovation, Buyonic, to help us capture the entire inventory life cycle of auction, purchase and reconditioning data, allowing us to strategically use the information to win more bids at a better price with lower reconditioning costs, while continuing to provide our customers with high-quality vehicles.

“We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the quality, efficiency and cost reduction opportunities,” he went on to say.

For more information on DriveTime, visit . 

April wholesale price prediction mimics previous year’s reading

McLEAN, Va., and STAMFORD, Conn. - 

As RVI Group and J.D. Power Valuation Services each saw wholesale prices moved higher in March when compared to the year-ago readings, a forecast for how prices might behave in April is indicating that analysts might not have to switch many figures from their previous-year report.

According to the newest edition of Guidelines, analysts pegged that April wholesale prices are likely to soften by 0.5 percent in April, which would be almost exactly the same as the 0.6 percent year-over-year dip that J.D. Power Valuations Services recorded for the same month in 2017.

The report put the five-year average April decline at 1.2 percent.

Analysts added that their expectations for all of 2018 remain with a projected price decline coming in at 0.4 percent.

Looking back at what happened in March, J.D. Power Valuation Services pinpointed the wholesale price rise at 2.5 percent for used vehicles up to 8 years in age. The increase was more than analysts anticipated. And as a result, the J.D. Power Valuation Services’ Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index ticked up by 0.9 points in March to land at 115.9; a figure 2.5 points above the year-ago reading.

Over at RVI Group, analysts there also said wholesale prices rose in March, but not quite to the level seen by J.D. Power Valuation Services. RVI Group indicated that the RVI Used Vehicle Price Index (Real) increased from February to March by 0.1 percent. When compared to March of 2017, prices moved up by 1.7 percent.

Both firms took a deeper dive into how specific vehicle segments performed in March. And analysts from each team noticed an array of segments posting prices jumps.

As shared in Guidelines, J.D. Power Valuation Services noticed compact and subcompact car prices came in strongest and above the industry average with year-over-year rises at 4.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively. Not far off that pace, analysts had midsize-car prices rising by a “healthy” 3.5 percent and large-car prices climbing by 3 percent.

RVI Group’s latest information had full-size vans and minivans making the largest price jump in March at 4.3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.

The car segments also appeared in RVI Group’s data as analysts noticed price increases for compacts (up 3.4 percent) midsize sedans (up 2.6 percent) and full-size sedans (2.2 percent).

Leading the way in terms of price softening in March, according to RVI Group, were luxury small sedans, which dropped by 3.9 percent year-over-year. Other notable price decreases in March as spotted by RVI Group included sports cars (down 3.2 percent), luxury coupes (down 2.6 percent), and luxury SUVs (down 2.1 percent).

And turning back to Guidelines, the report also mentioned the March price drop-off for luxury large utilities, which slipped by 3.1 percent year-over-year. Analysts added the change was “somewhat out of character since over the past several years prices for the group have been flat to down ever so slightly in March.”

Perhaps the trigger for the price drop, J.D. Power Valuation Services noticed the volume of luxury large utilities hitting the wholesale market jumped 24 percent in March, pushing the year-to-date rise to 3.9 percent, “which isn’t helping prices.”

A deeper look at tax refunds

The upward movement of those specific mainstream car segments intrigued the team at J.D. Power Valuation Services, so it explored the relationship involving those cars and federal income tax returns.

“Buyers in these segments have historically been more sensitive when it comes to ‘cash down’ payments, and federal tax returns have been a great source of down payments,” analysts said in the report.

J.D. Power Valuation Services went back and looked at data from the Internal Revenue Services and found that the total number of federal tax refunds issues through February dipped by 1.8 percent compared to the same point last year. Analysts added the disparity improved in March as the year-over-year refund deficit came in at 1.1 percent.

When consumers did land their refund, this year’s figure was 0.5 percent higher year-over-year at an average of $2,893, according to IRS information relayed through Guidelines.

Analysts asked, “So what does the occurrence mean? Ultimately, it meant there were more potential buyers in the marketplace armed with healthy down payments in March.”

Lane watch: What pump prices are doing to compacts


Perhaps as some dealers hesitate to bid when prices climb before the hammer falls, compact cars continue to keep ringmen busy when those units roll over the block.

The latest Black Book Market Insights report showed prices for compact cars have climbed by 3 percent during the past six weeks. And Black Book executive vice president of operations Anil Goyal pinpointed a reason why.

“Compact cars see continued strength in the market, helped by rising gasoline prices,” said Goyal, referencing data contained the report that has the average price at the pump well above $2.70 per gallon. That’s more than 40 cents higher than the low point within Black Book’s data set that went back to last April.

Volume-weighted, editors found that overall car segment values increased by 0.29 percent last week. In comparison, Black Book mentioned the values had increased on average by 0.20 percent per week during the previous two weeks.

Within cars, Black Book reported the midsize car and compact car segments increased the most in value last week, rising by 0.57 percent and 0.56 percent, respectively.

Again volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs, and vans — decreased by 0.04 percent last week. In comparison, the values had decreased on average by 0.14 percent per week during the previous two weeks.

Among trucks, Black Book found that the sub-compact crossover segment increased the most in value last week, moving up by 0.23 percent.

Turning next to the anecdotes from the lanes Black Book collected last week, the story out of Florida outlined thoughts used-car managers in other places might have.

“Many buyers are actively bidding on vehicles but are getting hesitant to pay top dollar, fearing an upcoming market decline,” a Black Book representative in the Sunshine State said.

Next door in Georgia, dealer feelings were expressed again but for a different reason.

“The institutional lanes were selling all of their vehicles for strong money. Dealers feel like the robust spring market may have a few more weeks of strong prices,” Black Book’s lane watcher in Georgia noted.

Up in Michigan, auction personnel are keeping close tabs on dealer activities.

“Factory inventory is quite constrained causing dealers to bid four or five extra times on the units that they want and need,” the lane watcher noticed.

Finally, in Pennsylvania, winter might officially be in the rear-view mirror.

“Sales percentages are strong as inventory is tight, and the weather finally feels like spring,” Black Book reported from the Keystone State.

XLerate auction in Texas adds N.M. dealership to mobile sale roster

LUBBOCK, Texas - 

Texas Lone Star Auto Auction – Lubbock, part of the XLerate Group Auctions, held a successful first mobile sale featuring Don Chalmers Ford of Rio Rancho, N.M. last month, and has added the New Mexico dealership to its roster of mobile sale sites. 

The auction said that 100 percent of the inventory at the auction’s first mobile sale sold and the Chalmers Ford dealership has agreed to hold more sales monthly.

The sales will be on site at the store near Albuquerque and simulcasted, as well. 

“Don Chalmers Ford is a very well-respected dealership, and we were honored when they agreed to partner with us in March for a mobile auction. With 100-percent sold on our first outing, they immediately agreed to a monthly mobile sale with us.” Texas Lone Star Auto Auction – Lubbock general manager Dale Martin said in a news release.

“After many years working in the Albuquerque market we saw a need for a stronger auction for northern New Mexico, and after a longtime selling relationship with Don Chalmers Ford it made perfect sense to partner with them to bring cars for sale to that market,” Martin continued.

Texas Lone Star Auto Auction – Lubbock holds its regular sale at 9 a.m. (CST) each Wednesday. The auction said it regularly offers consignment averaging 800 units each week.

“I was truly excited about the results of our first sale and am ready to do it again. We are planning the next sale in April to be even larger than the first,” added Brad Poole, pre-owned director at Chalmers Ford.

Ally Financial names CFAA as Auction of the Year


Columbus Fair Auto Auction added another piece of hardware to its trophy case this week.

In a ceremony prior the start of Wednesday’s sale, CFAA was awarded Ally Financial’s Auction of the Year Leadership Award for 2017.

The award recognizes the auctions’ overall sales, performance and growth for the year.

This accolade marks the third year in a row that CFAA has earned the award.

“Ally Financial appreciates the hard work and effort the Columbus Fair team does on our behalf,” said Tom Moore, Ally’s director of remarketing for the Eastern region. “This continues to be a great partnership for Ally and its dealer customers and the results speak for themselves with Columbus Fair having won this award three years running.”

Columbus Fair Auto Auction owner Alexis Jacobs added, “We value our relationship with Ally both commercial lease and repo. We are proud of the recognition and we look forward to continued success in 2018 and beyond.”

Strange spring: Car-price momentum remains intact


How odd has this spring been? Well, an entire weekend of Major League Baseball action was postponed because of significant snow in Minnesota, and it has been cars not trucks that are leading overall wholesale market price changes. So the answer is — pretty weird. 

This week’s Black Book Market Insights report reiterated how certain truck segments have pulled down the March Black Book Index despite a strong showing by small car segments so far this spring.

“Continued euphoria seen in the auction lanes as high sales percentages persist. Consignors of sedans, particularly rental car companies, have done well in this spring season,” said Anil Goyal, executive vice president operations at Black Book.

Volume-weighted, editors determined that overall car segment values increased by 0.15 percent last week. In comparison, Black Book reported market values for these units increased on average by 0.24 percent per week during the previous two weeks.

Within cars, Black Book noticed the midsize car segment increased the most in value last week, climbing by 0.60 percent or $48.

Again volume-weighted, editors determined overall truck segment values — including pickups, SUVs and vans — decreased by 0.16 percent last week, same as the average decrease per week spotted during the previous two weeks.

In the truck space, Black Book reported the sub-compact crossover increased the most in value last week, rising by 0.17 percent or $19. On the opposite extreme, editors pointed out a pair of truck segments dropped by notable figures. That couple included full-size crossovers and SUVs (down 0.70 percent or $139) as well as full-size luxury crossovers and SUVs (0.47 percent or $138).

Turning next to the anecdotes Black Book’s representatives collected from the lanes, the wintry weather still impacted some portions of the country led the conversations, staring with an auction general manager in Ohio.

“The past four to six weeks have been extremely strong, averaging 78 percent to 81 percent in sales conversion,” the GM told Black Book. “While we always get a bump from tax season, the fact we are now approaching two months of 80 percent is uncommon.

“Add in the inclement weather, and these numbers look even more remarkable,” the GM added.

Black Book also gathered observations from two of Ohio’s neighbors, starting in Pennsylvania, where the lane watcher said, “Volumes were down, causing dealers to experience difficulty sourcing cars. Trucks remain the hot commodity here.”

And up in Michigan, the story was, “The used retail market is definitely picking up at both the independent and franchise stores.”

Moving South, temperatures are improving, and so is the auction activity.

Out of South Carolina, “The market continues to be strong even though the attendance was down this week. In lane and online bidding and buying were good.”

And finally down in Texas, “There was active bidding and consistent sales but the number of consigned vehicles was down. Not sure if the good activity was due to the low number of vehicles to choose from or the seasonality of the spring market.”

Manheim hosts special TFS sale on retired aircraft carrier


You could say cars really “took off” when they went over the block at a “soaring” special event Manheim recently hosted.

Emphasizing that it is easy for dealers to buy and sell inventory anytime and anywhere, Manheim San Diego recently partnered with Toyota / Lexus Financial Services to conduct the “Heroes of History” Event Sale on the retired aircraft carrier USS Midway.

Conducted on March 27, event highlights included:

—Drawing 215 dealer buyers to the Navy Pier and through Simulcast, 42 buyers purchased 100 percent of the 175 pre-owned, late model vehicles.

—Opportunity to view and bid on 143 Toyota and 32 Lexus high-quality units.

—177 Simulcast attendees, including 104 unique online users – nearly double the total of online participants compared to last year’s mobile sales.

—101 of 175 vehicles were sold online.

—16 new buyers to Manheim San Diego purchased 60 units

“We see Manheim as a valued strategic partner and we appreciate how it helps us provide excellent services to our dealers, especially as 2018 is a big year for lease returns,” said Mike Reid, national manager of the remarketing department at Toyota Financial Services. “Our sales event on the aircraft carrier was exciting and drew praise from many dealers who enjoyed the experience and business opportunity.”

Manheim recapped that it has hosted successful mobile sales at non-traditional locations ranging from a baseball stadium to a NASCAR race track and now an aircraft carrier. The company explained these special events allow dealers to extend their market reach using unique venues to produce the excitement and services offered by physical auction sites.

“Our digital and mobile channels give dealers the ability to conduct transactions on their own terms and benefit from efficiencies, cost savings and conveniences,” said Matt Laughridge, director of mobile auction sales and operations at Manheim. “Building on our positive track record, we have monthly mobile special events planned through the end of the year.”

'Non-traditional' channels, off-lease utilities to see growth in 2018


You can expect another year of 10 million wholesale vehicles at traditional, brick-and-mortar auto auctions in 2018.

But that comes with a twist, according to . There is also some change afoot in what the off-lease supply might look like. 

Starting with wholesale, the report’s section on wholesale volumes and pricing was written by Zohaib Rahim, manager of economic industry insights at Cox Automotive .

In that section, Rahim said wholesale volumes at physical auctions should remain at this “near-record” height referenced above. In 2017, the tally was close to 10 million, according to an estimate of member auction sales by the National Auto Auction Association cited in the Cox Automotive report. 

However, look for a spike in the number of cars going into off-site digital channels, Rahim said in the report.

“If 2017 was the year of traditional auctions, 2018 will be the year of an increase in non-traditional channels,” Rahim wrote. “Total wholesale transactions in a given year are more than twice the NAAA-member volume. Other channels include direct sales between dealers — sometimes with a wholesaler as an intermediary — commercial accounts selling directly to dealers or retail customers, and sales at non-NAAA member auctions.”

Rahim goes on to point out that lease returns, a major source of used-car supply, will go through a number of various channels — including, but not limited to, the physical auctions — to reach the wholesale market.

“Still, despite the large volume in the other channels, it is the real-time, competitive-bid price discovery in the auction channel that serves as the benchmark for pricing in the other venues,” Rahim said.

Speaking of lease returns, the report suggests the new-car market will see a bit more impact from them this year than in recent years. Rahim explained in the leasing section of this report that this trend is due to greater share of utility vehicles in the off-lease crop.

And with that being a popular segment right now on the new-vehicle side, it could pressure the new side of the market a bit more than did sedans, which aren’t as popular, he said.

In fact, Cox Automotive is estimating the CUV’s share of off-lease to climb by about 3 percentage points this year and then more than 3 points in 2019.

Cars, meanwhile, are likely to see their share of off-lease dip by more than 4 percentage points both this year and next.  

“Though Cox Automotive expects the wholesale and used-vehicle markets to absorb the volumes of off-lease units returning to market, the mix of off-lease vehicles poses the biggest challenge to new-vehicle sales for dealers and automakers. Used retail demand is strong,” Rahim writes. “Plus, nearly new vehicles with similar technologies will pose an attractive value proposition for consumers on the fence between a new or a used vehicle.

“In addition, the bulk of off-lease units in 2017 were traditional cars at a time when consumers clearly preferred crossovers and sport utilities. The next couple of years will bring the higher volumes of nearly new utility vehicles back to the market as off-leases vehicles, and these vehicle types are in high demand by consumers,” he said. “In 2018, Cox Automotive estimates some of the largest growth in off-lease volume will be of vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 crossovers. These undoubtedly will be in high demand.”

NIADA finalizes partnerships with AFC, TradeRev


The relationship connecting the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and KAR Auction Services is now even stronger.

On Wednesday, NIADA named Automotive Finance Corp. and TradeRev as Diamond-level National Corporate Partners — the association’s highest level of corporate affiliation.

AFC provides independent vehicle dealers a portfolio of trusted, flexible inventory financing and business solutions from more than 130 branch locations across the U.S. and Canada.

TradeRev is one of North America’s most advanced and longest-running digital mobile-app live auction platform for dealer-to-dealer transactions.

“TradeRev and AFC provide premier services that are directly aligned with the success of our independent dealer members and the future of our industry,” NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said.

 “These two businesses have a proven track record of delivering innovative products and services to help dealers quickly and conveniently source and finance inventory. And with the support of KAR Auction Services, we know they are here for our members — and here to stay,” Jordan continued.

Over the past year, NIADA highlighted TradeRev and AFC have collaborated to bring independent dealers first-of-their-kind promotions such as no floorplan fees and no-interest financing for 45 days for vehicles bought on TradeRev.

With the release of TradeRev 4.0, TradeRev became the first and only digital auction platform to introduce real-time AFC credit line availability displayed in-app, and fully integrated one-click AFC financing at checkout.

The partnership follows TradeRev’s recent unveiling of H, its artificial intelligence capabilities that combine the power of KAR’s data and TradeRev’s machine learning and predictive analytics to deliver clear, actionable information to dealers.

“NIADA dealers are smart, tech savvy and always looking for next-gen technology solutions to help their businesses grow and succeed,” KAR chairman and chief executive officer Jim Hallett said. “We are proud to partner with NIADA and to continue serving its strong membership.

“With a coast-to-coast presence and strong pipeline of innovation, TradeRev and AFC will help keep dealers moving and their inventory moving even faster,” Hallett continued. “Whether you’re an NIADA member in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Tampa or Dallas — you can count on TradeRev and AFC to expand your marketplace and extend your floorplan buying power.”

 AFC serves the NIADA community in the retail and wholesale automotive space, as well as serving RV, power sports and commercial truck dealers, salvage buyers and daily rental operators, offering floor planning to independent vehicle dealers.

AFC provides liquidity, bandwidth, industry expertise and credibility and is accepted by more than 1,000 inventory sources.

TradeRev is a mobile app offering NIADA members fast, convenient access to high-quality trade-in and commercial consignment inventory before it reaches wholesale physical auctions. The TradeRev mobile app mimics the physical auction setting, enabling dealers to launch and participate in live, one-hour auctions directly from their smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Winning TradeRev bidders can complete the entire transaction within the app, including optional inspection, title and arbitration services, and AFC financing and transportation through CarsArrive Network, another KAR business unit.