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Equifax Names Reid as USIS Lead

ATLANTA — Jennifer “Jenn” Reid has joined Equifax as U.S. automotive marketing and strategy lead for U.S. Information Systems. In this role, Reid will be responsible for the development of Equifax’s automotive growth strategies, as well as overseeing specific marketing plans and initiatives. This includes understanding competitive automotive industry market dynamics and trends, key customer insights, new product innovations, and pricing and channel strategies.

Reid brings nearly two decades of diverse automotive experience to her new role, working for and with dealerships, industry associations and automotive finance companies. She joined Equifax Automotive Services in April of 2013 from the automotive lending industry, where she spent six years focused on the OEM and indirect lending business for JP Morgan Chase.

Reid also spent three years working with large automotive strategic partners and resellers; before that, she spent two years in product marketing for Equifax Automotive Services. She holds a degree in automotive marketing and management from Northwood University.

“We’re excited to have Jenn leading our U.S. automotive marketing team as her rich and diverse expertise will help us continue to build the right solution sets so we can deliver value that amplifies profit potential for our partners,” said Craig Crabtree, senior vice president and general manager of Equifax Automotive Services. “Jenn has lived and breathed nearly every aspect of the broader automotive ecosystem, and because of that she is extremely qualified to lead a dedicated team of professionals committed to driving great value to the industry.

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Cox Establishes Mobility Solutions Group

ATLANTA — Cox Automotive announced the formation of Mobility Solutions group, a new business division focused in part on mobility as a service for consumers and fleets. It will also house the newly acquired Clutch Technologies, a technology platform powering subscription access for the automotive industry.

“Cox Automotive is continually evolving — delivering digital retailing solutions for the immediate term while developing and investing in solutions that will fuel new models for consumer mobility and enable fleet management solutions well into the future,” said Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive. “The future of mobility as a service is a massive business opportunity, with some estimates at well in excess of $1 trillion by 2030. Our goal is to grow our presence in that part of the business and help all our partners and clients successfully navigate the many new opportunities.”

Cox’s Mobility Solutions Group will be led by President Joe George and already includes the Autotrader, Dealer.com, and Kelley Blue Book brands. David Liniado, vice president of new growth and development, Jenny Bedard, head of finance, and Vince Zappa, president of Clutch Technologies, will report to George and help build a team to further develop Cox Automotive’s mobility capabilities.

“Cox Automotive has played a large role in introducing vehicle subscriptions to the marketplace,” said George. “And, we’re already pros at reconditioning, managing vehicles as assets, perfecting the consumer experience and developing elegant software solutions to make complex operations more efficient and profitable. We’re looking forward to helping clients disrupt the traditional car-buying and ownership models in ways that are advantageous for their businesses.”

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Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index Up 5.1% in July

ATLANTA — Used-vehicle sales continued their strong performance in the wholesale market in July, as an “abnormal bounce” that began in June continued through July with a 1.51% increase in overall values. The increase brought the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index for the month to 136.9, a 5.1% increase from a year ago.

Pricing from the Manheim Market Report (MMR) increased as a result of “a strong economy at its peak, with mounting affordability challenges for the consumer that favor growth in used-vehicle sales at the expense of new.

“The catalyst for even stronger price movement this summer is the fear of import tariffs leading to higher prices in the future,” the firm noted in its report. “Higher prices and the related declining level of supply create a psychological feedback loop for consumers, encouraging buying now with the expectation that prices may be higher later.”

The past year has brought price gains in all of the major market segments, and more affordable vehicles have seen the greatest increase in value. Compact cars and midsize cars have outperformed the market, while vans, utility vehicles, and pickups have underperformed the overall market.

Used-vehicle sales volume increased by 3% on a year-over-year basis in July. The annualized pace of used-vehicle sales is up 1% over last year, led by franchised used-vehicle sales and private party used-vehicle sales. Manheim’s estimate of the July used SAAR of 39.2 million would be the strongest July in six years.

New-vehicle sales in July fell 3% from a year ago. July’s SAAR came in at 16.7 million, which was flat vs. last year’s 16.7 million SAAR. July is just the second month this year the SAAR came in below 17 million. Cars continue to see sharp declines as sales in July fell 17% compared to last year. Light trucks outperformed cars in July and were up 4% year over year. New vehicle sales on a year-to-date basis are up 1% vs. last year, according to Manheim.

Fleet sales have bolstered the new vehicle market in 2018, but fleet purchases declined in July relative to June. Despite the decline, the volume of fleet sales was up 26% from a year ago and 9% year-to-date. Retail sales are down 0.2% year-to-date, but July saw the strongest retail SAAR (14.7 million) for the year.

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Upstream Remarketing Keeping Used-Vehicle Values Strong

CARMEL, Ind. — The first half of 2018 has been a strong year for used vehicle values, and a growth in upstream remarketing is playing a helpful role.

Various factors had market analysts predicting that used vehicle values would suffer in 2018 — one of the largest factors being the expected off-lease tidal wave that would bring a surge in supply of three-year-old vehicles. The tidal wave hit, but the market has so far able to absorb the extra supply. Tom Kontos, chief economist for KAR Auction Services, believes upstream remarketing is the reason.

“We were really thinking there would be more impact due to supply growth this year. The remarketing industry itself has done a really good job of spreading the volume into various channels,” said Kontos. “Cars that used to end up at auctions are being sold upstream at the grounding dealers. Off-lease units don’t make it to auction; they get sold right at the turning point.”

Kontos expects the rise in upstream remarketing to continue, which is good news for used-vehicle values as more off-lease units return to market in the next two years.

Depreciation through the first half of 2018 stands at 13.7%, which is much lower than the 16.3% rate recorded one year ago. According to Kontos, that means used-vehicle values are performing about 3% better this year than they were in the first half of 2017.

The way things have played out has surprised Anil Goyal, executive vice president of operations for Black Book. He predicted that depreciation would be higher this year. The executive agrees that growth in upstream remarketing has helped, but he believes the ride-sharing business has helped as well.

Used vehicles make ideal vehicles for drivers in the ride-sharing environment due to their lower acquisition costs and availability, he noted.

As the ride-sharing business continues to grow, it’ll be another factor helping used-vehicle values stay in line as supply continues to grow, as more drivers in the business segment will mean more demand for the extra supply.

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New Vehicle Hack Threat Exposed

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Connected device management and security provider Zingbox announced new research that shows how a car’s driver can be subject to cybersecurity attacks through the car’s “infotainment” system, the embedded operating system powering the iPad-looking displays found on many recent new vehicles.

Daniel Regalado, Zingbox’s principal security researcher, has agreed to demonstrate the vulnerability at the DefCon 26 Car Hacking Village in Las Vegas tomorrow. In a statement released today, the company revealed that Regalado teamed with independent researchers Gerardo Iglesias and Ken Hsu to break into a car’s infotainment system and reverse-engineer its main components with one goal in mind: to infect the operating system with malware and prove the system could be controlled remotely through SMS messages, using the driver’s own phone to compromise their personal data and safety.

“In order to provide real-time security to all IoT devices, Daniel Regalado and others on Zingbox’s research team continuously push the boundaries of IoT vulnerability research,” said Xu Zou, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “We’re glad to share our latest findings with the broader security community and raise the awareness of the impact of IoT device vulnerabilities.”

An auto infotainment system depends on the Internet of Things to operate. The fact that an infotainment system can be breached suggests the need for stepped-up IoT cybersecurity solutions similar to what is already available for such devices in healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing. This would protect drivers, especially the millions of car renters around the world, Regalado said.

“The fact that we can infect a car’s infotainment system and expose private data sheds light on an important vulnerability for manufacturers going forward,” he added, noting he has also recently hacked a telepresence robot, an IV pump, and other medical devices.

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Dealertrack: Vehicle Title Doubles Chances of Sale

NORTH HILLS, N.Y. — Proprietary research, reports, and surveys show vehicles holding a title are nearly two times more likely to sell off auction lots on first pass than vehicles without titles. To help both dealers and lenders take advantage of this trend, Dealertrack’s breakthrough Accelerated Title solution creates cost savings through faster, electronic payments to lenders, which enables title release to dealers as quickly as four to six days, significantly speeding the standard payoff and title release process by up to 70%, the company announced.

In a post-sales peak automotive retail climate, in which it’s reported dealers pay approximately $32 per day on average in holding costs for vehicles that sit on lots, dealers simply cannot afford to let time kill their bottom line, said Todd Hutto, vice president and general manager of Dealertrack’s Lender DDS/CMS Solutions division.

“Identifying profit opportunities for dealers and lenders through our network continues to be top-of-mind for Dealertrack,” Hutto said. “We’ve seen titled vehicles sell at a faster clip in our current environment, creating a clear opportunity for dealers looking to move inventory faster, ultimately reducing holding costs to boost profitability.”

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