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AutoGravity partners with Hyundai’s captive, names business development exec

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Just about a week after naming a new executive vice president of business development, AutoGravity on Wednesday landed Hyundai Capital America as another provider on its shopping and financing platform.

Beginning in the state of California, financing through Hyundai Capital America is now accessible to AutoGravity users searching for financing for a Hyundai, Kia or Genesis.

“With the growing number of consumers embracing AutoGravity, as well as the seamless integration of AutoGravity with dealer process, we felt that this was the perfect opportunity to test the platform," said Ross Williams, president and chief executive officer at Hyundai Capital America, which does business as Hyundai Motor Finance, Kia Motors Finance and Genesis Finance.

Based in Irvine, Calif., AutoGravity uses proprietary technology to connect vehicle shoppers, finance companies and dealers through a modern digital marketplace. AutoGravity collaborates with leading banks and captives like Hyundai Capital America to empower its users with convenience, transparency and choice while sending ready-to-buy customers to the dealership.

“AutoGravity brings the car financing experience into the digital age where today's consumer wants to find it: in the palm of their hand,” said Andreas Hinrichs, founder and CEO of AutoGravity. “With the addition of Hyundai Capital America, we can offer our users even more finance choices, making that drive off the dealership lot even more rewarding.”

More than 700,000 consumers have downloaded the AutoGravity app since it launched in the summer of 2016. The AutoGravity platform is available across the United States.

Earlier, AutoGravity appointed Stuart Holmes as executive vice president of business development.

“With over a decade of leadership in the automotive finance industry, Stuart is a natural fit for our management team,” Hinrichs said. “He brings a wealth of experience developing strategic partnerships combined with strong overall business acumen. Stuart will accelerate our growth by building new partnerships to drive even more users to the AutoGravity platform.”

Prior to joining AutoGravity, Holmes served as co-founder and chief marketing and business development officer for SpringboardAuto.com where he was responsible for product design and building partnerships. 

Prior to SpringboardAuto.com, Holmes led business development at CarFinance Capital and spent more than eight years at Dealertrack Technologies. 

Under Holmes’ leadership, Dealertrack developed many of the key relationships that positioned the company as a leading indirect automotive finance platform, including partnerships with Hyundai Capital America, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Volvo Car Financial Services and American Honda Finance Corp., among others.

“The digital transformation of the auto finance industry is moving at the speed of light, and AutoGravity has positioned itself as a leader in the space. The opportunity to join the team and contribute to the growth and evolution of the industry is extremely exciting,” Holmes said.

“I look forward to helping the company change the way people buy and finance cars,” he added.

InterActiveTel welcomes new president & COO


InterActiveTel announced Monday that Bill Leek has come aboard as the company’s new president and chief operating officer.

Leek brings more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, and he most recently served as vice president of sales for Dominion Dealer Services, according to InterActiveTel.

In addition to leading the entire InterActiveTel organization, in his new role, Leek will be responsible for both maintaining business development partnerships and guiding the adoption of the company’s suite of communication products.

“We could not be happier to have someone with Bill’s character and reputation on board,” InterActiveTel chief executive officer Jack Behar said in a news release. “With his wealth of expertise in everything from CRM to call tracking to data mining, Bill really understands what information a dealership needs to make the most informed decisions to benefit the customers. This is a huge win for us.”

At Dominion, prior to serving as vice president of sales, Leek served in a variety of roles at the company. 

He was the director of sales at Autobase, a division of Dominion, when he was asked to lead the AutoRevenue and AVV sales teams following the company’s merger in 2011.

Prior to Dominion, Leek worked within sales and management at both ADP and Newgen Results.

LotLinx fills new SVP client relationships role


LotLinx announced Monday it has named John Gottschalk senior vice president of client relationships to help manage and develop impactful communications with dealers.

Gottschalk most recently served as SVP of dealer relations and business development at FordDirect, which is both a turnkey digital marketing solution for Ford Motor Company and joint venture between Ford and its franchised dealers.

In addition to building communications with dealers, Gottschalk has also been tasked with creating new enterprise strategies and solutions for LotLinx, according to the company.

"John has a deep understanding of the industry, and a strong track record of delivering innovative solutions which accelerate inventory turn,” Lotlinx president Eric Brown said in a news release. “John has worked directly with the country’s top dealers, manufacturers, agencies, vendors and is highly respected by all. We’re excited to add someone of his caliber to the team.”

At FordDirect, Gottschalk was a strategic leader and member of the executive leadership team, which worked with Ford and Lincoln dealers, strategic vendors and Ford Motor Co. partners.

Prior to FordDirect, he spent several years at the family-run McCrackin Ford dealership in Pittsburgh, according to LotLinx.

Former NADA Pres. Brady joins Kerrigan Advisors

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kerrigan Advisors announced Tuesday it has appointed former National Automobile Dealers Association president Phil Brady as senior adviser to provide the firm counsel on generational transitions and corporate planning.

Brady brings Kerrigan Advisors and its clients over 30 years of experience and extensive relationships based on his automotive and legislative background, the firm said.

Brady served as president of NADA from 2001 to 2012, and in 2015, retired from his most recent role as senior vice president for government affairs at Phillips 66.

“Phil brings with him the experience of industry leadership during some of the toughest times our industry has ever seen,” Kerrigan Advisors founder and managing director Erin Kerrigan said in a news release.

“In leading NADA through 2012, he navigated auto retail through collapsing sales, a brutal financial market and OEM bankruptcies. It’s this sort of depth of industry understanding and perspective that Kerrigan clients will really benefit from as they consider their business’ future in today’s consolidating auto retail market, whether that means passing to the next generation, gearing up for growth or considering a sale,” she continued.

Brady's legislative experience includes working in the White House as deputy counsel to the President during the Reagan Administration and serving as assistant to the President, staff secretary and general counsel to the Department of Transportation from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush.

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be associated with Kerrigan Advisors, the well-recognized consummate professionals in representing dealers as they evaluate strategic options for their businesses,” Brady said. “I very much look forward to re-engaging with my many friends and colleagues in the auto retail industry.”

Prior to taking on his roles in government in D.C., Brady practiced law in California.

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

In addition to his new advisory role, Brady currently serves as an adjunct professor at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.

MetroGistics appoints Susan Moritz VP of business development


MetroGistics has brought on Susan Moritz as vice president of business development to head the company’s OEM and Mega Dealer business segments.

Moritz brings over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry to her new role, according to the company.

Last year, AuSM named Moritz a Women in Remarketing honoree.

She joins MetroGistics having previously held positions with Cox Automotive, Finance Express, KAR Auction Services and ADESA.

“We are extremely pleased that Susan has joined our senior management team. She has a well-earned reputation in the auto industry as a dynamic and creative leader, and will help take MetroGistics to new levels of success,” MetroGistics co-founder and managing partner Scott Naz said in a news release.

Additionally, Moritz is currently active on the board of Indianapolis Ballet and chair of the marketing committee for Chaucie’s Place, which is an organization against childhood sexual abuse and suicide, where her husband, Jack Powell, serves as executive director.

LeasePlan USA appoints new regional VP


LeasePlan USA recently announced that it has expanded its business development team with the appointment of Mike Camnetar as regional vice president.

Camnetar most recently served as director of fleet partnerships at Element.

In his new role, Camnetar has been tasked with partnering with national and multinational companies and seeking results-driven fleet management solutions in the upper Midwest region of the U.S., according to LeasePlan.

“Mike’s extensive experience and vast knowledge of the industry makes him a great addition to this team,” LeasePlan USA chief commercial officer Ricardo Fonzaghi said in a news release.

Camnetar’s background includes more than 18 years of fleet industry experience.

Additionally, he has served on the NAFA board of trustees and is a certified automotive fleet administrator.

Camnetar has worked as an instructor for NAFA’s CAFM Bootcamp and Fleet Management Seminars since 2009, according to LeasePlan.

“The great combination of high energy, talent and innovation going on at LeasePlan makes me thrilled to be a part of this,” said Camnetar.

Podium welcomes new VP & 2 partnerships to collect dealer reviews

CARY, N.C. - 

Podium recently announced the appointment of Matt Murray as senior vice president of strategic accounts as well as new partnerships with DealerSocket and DealerVault.

Podium’s latest integration with DealerSocket and DealerVault automates dealers' common interactions, such as collecting reviews and sending text messages.

The new partnerships will allow dealers using DealerSocket and DealerVault to integrate Podium technology with their existing dealer management systems, according to the company.

“With the addition of these partners Podium now covers nearly every franchise dealer in the country," said Murray in an email interview with AuSM.

Prior to his current role, Murray most recently served as vice president of strategic growth and retail solutions at Cox Automotive, Dealertrack Technologies and Dealer.com. As senior vice president of strategic accounts, Murray has been tasked with overseeing Podium’s cross-vertical strategic account strategy.

He said both DealerSocket and DealerVault customers have reported substantial increases in total reviews captured since the integration.

“Podium’s integration points automate a significant portion of the reviews process for dealerships, alleviating the burden from employees, and ultimately optimizing their local SEO strategy,” Murray explained. “We are helping to ensure that they will get found, get chosen, and receive valuable insights from both new and existing customers."

According to Podium, its recent growth within the automotive sector follows a $32 million Series A funding round from investors such as Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Y Combinator.

“We're delighted to now support a broad network of solutions providers in the automotive space, giving a significant number of dealerships a better way to interact with their customers throughout the entire customer journey, and foster valuable, long-lasting relationships,” Podium chief executive officer and co-founder Eric Rea said in a news release announcing the new partnerships.

Former Cars.com exec joins Hireology as VP of auto partnerships


Hireology has brought on former Cars.com executive Michael Kraut as vice president of automotive partnerships.

Kraut most recently served as vice president of national sales at Cars.com, and led the company to over thirteen years of record growth, according to Hireology.

"Michael comes to Hireology during a period of rapid growth and transformation," Hireology co-founder and chief executive officer Adam Robinson said in a news release. "Over the past six months, Hireology has strengthened our product offering by adding integrated payroll and talent management capabilities and enhanced reporting. Michael's extensive background in retail automotive and progressive leadership experience position Hireology for continued success in the automotive market."

In his new role, Kraut has been tasked with driving growth for Hireology through enhanced OEM partnerships and automotive association relationships.

"During my time at Cars.com, I saw firsthand the impact dealership employees have on the customer experience and, ultimately, profitability," Kraut said.

"Hireology's industry leading platform simplifies the process for dealerships to hire and manage their talent, and turn their people into a source of competitive advantage. I look forward to expanding Hireology's relationships with OEMs and partner networks across North America, and helping dealerships manage their human capital as a core and critical function of their business," he said.

Additionally, Kraut will be responsible for overseeing his teams’ efforts to educate the retail automotive industry on how to use impactful people strategy to build high performing businesses, according to Hireology.

ADESA names 2 executive sales directors

CARMEL, Ind. - 

ADESA announced Tuesday that it has brought on two new members to join its sales team.

Angela Williams and Kirk Archer have joined the company as executive sales directors.

Williams most recently served as the business development and marketing manager for Rawls Auto Auction in Leesville, S.C.

“Angela brings more than 20 years of auto auction industry experience to the commercial sales team,” ADESA vice president of commercial sales John Combs said in a news release. “Angela brings a wealth of industry knowledge, auction management experience, and previous work alongside intuitional clients to the position. She’ll hit the ground running to help our commercial customers navigate the changes and challenges of our marketplace.”

Williams joined Rawls AA in 1990 as a part-time block clerk and in 1996, she took on a full-time role within the fleet/lease department.

She was later promoted to fleet/lease manager and then assistant general manager in 2005.

Meanwhile, Archer most recently served as director of commercial sales at Insurance Auto Auctions.

“Kirk’s wide-ranging experience at IAA and the relationships he’s developed over the past decade will be valuable assets to our company and our customers,” Combs said. “He brings a unique view of the remarketing landscape across both the whole car and salvage car marketplaces. We’re extremely pleased to have Kirk join our national sales team and look forward to his many contributions.”

Archer joined IAA as an auction coordinator in 2007 and was later promoted to divisional sales manager, according to ADESA.

4 pieces of new operating division: KAR Remarketing Services

CARMEL, Ind. - 

As the company released its second quarter financial statement, KAR Auction Services also announced on Thursday the creation of a new operating segment — KAR Remarketing Services.

KAR Remarketing Services is designed to align the company’s AutoVIN, Dent Demon, High Tech Locksmiths and PAR North America businesses. Picked to serve as president of this new operating division is David Vignes.

“KAR’s goal is to provide a simplified, seamless experience across its end-to-end remarketing platform,” Vignes said. “The alignment of these businesses allows us to deliver the full range of inspection, recovery, reconditioning and repair services both in the lanes and on the road.

“We look forward to building on our successful foundation and expanding our integrated offerings to serve our diverse whole car, salvage and buyer and seller customers,” he continued.

Vignes previously served as KAR’s executive vice president of enterprise optimization, and has been promoted to the role of president, KAR Remarketing Services. In addition to his new responsibilities, Vignes will continue to oversee KAR’s enterprise safety efforts. Vignes also led the development of KAR’s “Safe T. Sam” program, which is available to all National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) members.

As part of this organizational alignment, Lisa Scott has been named president of PAR North America reporting to Vignes. PAR North America is a U.S. provider of vehicle transition services with coast-to-coast solutions for recovery management, skip-tracing, remarketing and title services.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of KAR, and I am thrilled to take the lead at PAR North America,” Scott said. “I worked very closely with our customers at ADESA Canada, and I’ve seen and heard their needs firsthand. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to develop the next generation of integrated remarketing solutions.”

Prior to this role, Scott held a variety of positions at ADESA Canada, including senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations, general manager, and, most recently, chief client officer. She has also served on several industry boards, including chair of the Canadian committee of the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) and co-chair of the Canadian chapter of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA).

“Lisa was a visionary leader for ADESA Canada with a strong track record of creating deep customer relationships. Her 25 years of experience, broad understanding of the marketplace, and her passion for our industry will continue to benefit our company and our customers,” Vignes said.

Scott takes the place at the top of PAR North America in place of Jerry Kroshus, who departed the company after nine years to become president and chief executive officer of Auto Approve, a refinance company that specializes in helping consumers find the best possible vehicle interest rates through its national network of credit unions, banks and finance companies.

Top-line quarterly results

In other company news this week, KAR also reported its second quarter financial results for the period that ended June 30.

The company’s total revenue jumped 9 percent year-over-year from $788.5 million to $858.0 million.

However, KAR reported a 7-percent softening in net income, landing at $57.2 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, as compared with net income of $61.8 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2016. Management explained Q2 net income was negatively impacted by $17.3 million, net of tax ($0.13 per diluted share, net of tax) resulting from the company's refinancing activities.

Looking at figures through the first six months of the year, KAR highlighted an 11-percent gain in revenue to $1.7246 billion as net income rose 3 percent to $126.4 million, or $0.91 per diluted share.

“KAR continues to execute well on the fundamentals of our business,” KAR chairman and chief executive officer Jim Hallett said in a statement. “Our second quarter results reflect the level of performance we expect, our ability to generate cash, and the strength of our diversified business model.”

KAR also announced a cash dividend of $0.32 per share on the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on Oct. 3 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Sept. 20.

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