With the recent announcement that the company will be entering the vehicle valuation market, it is evident CarProof has had a busy couple of years.
Just last year, it jumped into the reconditioning market with its new RECON tool, and with its latest acquisition of Canadian Red Book, the company will be launching the first installation of its planned vehicle valuation product suite during the first half of 2015.
These are all moves to address the company’s goal of creating next generation solutions to address automotive industry “pain points” across all markets.
Company management told AuSM Canada that, without a doubt, CarProof has always known vehicle history reports would eventually just be one element of its portfolio of products.
The company is working toward being involved in all stages of the vehicle remarketing cycle. And that means everything from appraising, trading, buying, selling and more.
“We feel as if we have value to add at every stage, no matter who the stakeholder is,” said Paul Antony, president, chief executive officer and chairman of CarProof.
He explained the underlying core belief behind the company’s vision for expansion and the consistent theme behind these tactics is transparency.
“We truly believe that transparency in a transaction builds confidence and allows more transactions to occur,” said Antony. “That can be B2B (Business-to-Business), B2C (Business-to-Consumer), and C2B (Consumer-to-Business). This strategy has worked very well with VHR, and that is our plan with RECON and the other products in the pipeline.”
CarProof also shared what’s on the agenda for 2015: a next generation appraisal tool, VIN specific valuation and RECON, with a focus on virtual auctions.
In fact, the RECON tool is already integrated with TRADER’s Exchange dealer-to-dealer marketplace, and it will also be used to fire condition reports to auctions through ADESA’s OPENLANE as well having the capability to condition grounded off-lease vehicles.
But Joe Varkey, vice president of marketing and communications at CarProof, pointed out that all this growth does not put VHRs on the back burner.
“We are continuously improving VHRs and are not losing sight of our core VHR products. We are adding millions of records and a very robust way to accurately determine the number of previous owners,” Varkey said.
The Importance of Client Feedback
In the throes of all this growth and movement, Varkey says the focus for many of these new tool’s development has been client back.
The company announced its vehicle valuation plans this fall at its second annual client advisory board meeting.
And the inaugural board meeting held in 2013 was used to announce the company’s new RECON tool.
“These meetings are priceless. Nothing is more important than the voice of the customer,” said Varkey. “When you are sitting around in a product meeting or marketing meeting, what you think is neat and a great idea might be neat, but it also might not be what your customers want or need.”
To avoid answering the questions nobody is asking, Varkey says CarProof turns to its customers.
“Our national sales force, of course, deals with our clients every day. But the beauty of something like this is you actually get the opportunity to sit down with your customers in a fairly intimate setting and explain your roadmap and your plans, and they give you very candid back on what is working, what you should keep doing, what you should stop doing and what you should start doing,” Varkey explained.
In fact, the annual meetings have provided such value, the company will be holding regional dealer-facing advisory boards next year across the country.
Entering the Recon Market
Just last year, the company moved beyond the VHR market and tackled reconditioning.
Company management says the 1.0 version of RECON is on the market, and reception has been positive.
Once again, Antony pointed out the product, like the company’s core beliefs, is built on transparency and providing insight through information.
“It’s built on our core belief in the importance of transparency and how increased transparency helps both parties, buying and selling, to know what they are getting into and to attach the right price to it,” Antony said. “If both parties are transparent, both parties trust each other, and more transactions occur. This is especially important in a virtual world.”
As the retail and wholesale markets continuously move more and more online, more tools will be required to create confidence in the transaction between buyer and seller, as touching the physical vehicle before buying wholesale slowly becomes a thing of the past.
“Adding RECON, not only does it build on our core principles, but we also want to make it an ingrained part of the buying and selling process in the retail and wholesale channels,” said Varkey.
The company is now focused on promoting the tool to potential partners, such as the recent deal with TRADER Exchange, as Varkey said clients are asking the company to integrate the product with more and more tools.
On top of partnering with TRADER and OPENLANE, the company is also talking to other parties in the remarketing value chain to plan future integration.
First Move Toward Valuation
A recent move towards the valuation market came with the company’s acquisition of Canadian Red Book earlier this fall.
“We have an overall valuation strategy that CarProof is strategically committed to executing aggressively against. Red Book is an established brand with a thriving customer base in the insurance, government and consumer space, so it is a great way to get our foot into the valuation space and accelerate our plans,” said Varkey.
The company officially announced the acquisition in mid-October and outlined plans to launch a vehicle valuation tool that uses all the data available to CarProof, creating a holistic view of the vehicle that simply isn’t available anywhere else.
What prompted the move into valuation?
Varkey and Antony spelled it out as follows:
“It’s interesting to know what a vehicle might have been listed for but accurate decision-making around pricing requires connecting the dots across a number of different data sources in a way that doesn’t exist today,” said Antony.”
“Through three years of gathering data and building relationships, we have built what we think is the industry’s largest and most powerful real-time automotive transactional database in Canada. The key value add of our solution is created by the synergy of combining much of our data including sold data/take data (both wholesale and retail), listings data/asking price and market supply/demand data with all the unique data currently included in the CarProof Vehicle History Report. Together, this empowers members of the automotive ecosystem to make more accurate judgments on how to value a car. The combination of unique data at unmatched scale with world class analytics results in a unique offering from CarProof that no one else can create or duplicate.” It really is the next generation for informed decision-making,” said Varkey.
Though there are other parties with some sold data, Antony asserts the magnitude of the sold data compiled by CarProof along with the data that drives CarProof’s proprietary vehicle history report materially raises the level of the playing field.
A version of the company’s next generation vehicle valuation product is expected to launch in the first half of 2015, and the company will have an even more elaborate VIN-specific version out by the end of next year.