KAR Auction Services Inc. believes better data analysis offers consignors a way to meet the challenge of growing wholesale volumes.
The search for more data led KAR to make its recent purchase of Drivin.
Drivin aggregates automotive retail pricing, registration and other market and economic data from a variety of public and proprietary sources. The insights generated from that data are deployed through predictive pricing, inventory management and vehicle matching tools that help customers buy, sell and source vehicles.
KAR CEO told analysts on the company’s latest quarterly conference call that KAR had been expanding its data science team already but determined the best move came from jumpstarting that growth with an acquisition.
Hallet explained how the move helps the customers of the company’s wholesale offering, which include auction group ADESA.
“What customers are very focused on is these volumes coming at them,” Hallett said. “And they have very limited information.”
Hallett said the goal of all consignors is to sell cars quickly at a good price.
The off-lease vehilces that make up most of the growth in volumes usually sell with high convertion rates and they first time offered at auction.
“Nobody is stockpiling these vehicles,” Hallett said.
The issue lies with getting the best price. Hallett said KAR expects wholesale volumes to decline by 5 percent this year.
The upside for KAR comes from the increase use of its services, such as reconditioning and inspection reports, by off-lease consignors.
The downside is lower wholesale prices mean increased losses for Automotive Finance Corp., KAR’s floor plan arm.
KAR reported revenue of $866.6 million in the latest quarter as compared with revenue of $758.3 million for the same quarter of 2016. Net income for the quarter increased to $69.2 million, as compared with net income of $60.7 million in the same quarter of 2016.