Keeping Our Finger on the Pulse of the Automotive Industry

As ACERTUS has expanded its services over the years from vehicle transport to fleet logistics and services, and to titles and registrations, we strive to stay informed of the latest trends in the automotive industry.  Our staff regularly attend major conferences across the country to meet with and learn from industry leaders.

The following are some major takeaways from three conferences our staff attended this spring.

Finished Vehicle Logistics North America Conference

The most significant pain points for Finished Vehicle Logistics all revolve around data. “How does the industry come together and share data without compromising their ability to compete?” was the question throughout the conference. FVLNA addressed this and promoted the sharing of data for a more holistic view of the industry. Additionally, most current OEM systems that manage transportation are somewhat antiquated.

Another major issue that the vehicle-transportation industry faces is a lack of capacity. The average car hauler is in his mid-50s, and not enough younger drivers are joining the workforce. FVLNA speakers focused on how technology can help curb this issue by promoting to younger drivers the advanced technology used within the car-haul industry.

Additionally, a railcar shortage is making transport by rail difficult, which drives up the expense of vehicle transport. Collaboration throughout the industry, as well as true network optimization, can reduce both the railcar and driver shortage by replacing long road trips with a more efficient allocation of rail ramps.

Other topics addressed at this conference included car sharing, short-term leasing and autonomous vehicles. One OEM executive stated that there will be tremendous usage of autonomous vehicles within 6-7 years, but others weren’t so sure.

2018 NADA Show 

This conference from the National Automobile Dealers Association regularly attracts industry leaders, manufacturers, exhibitors and other key players to learn the latest tools, tactics and industry trends, and see the hottest new automotive products and technologies. A lot of association business is conducted at this conference.

Susan Moritz, ACERTUS’ vice president of business development, noted that “integration” was a big theme at this year’s event. “There are so many programs and systems out there, that there is a real need for a system that would integrate all of them into a simple interface,” she said. “Dealers still want choices, like for a good inventory-management system, but they want to be able to integrate it into their other systems.”

Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR)

With a focus on auto auctions, this conference brings together more than 500 remarketing professionals to learn the latest information on new technologies, wholesale market conditions, industry standardization and more. It is also organized in conjunction with the National Auto Auction Association Spring Business Meeting and International Automotive Remarketers Alliance Spring Roundtable.

Whereas just 10-15 years ago this conference focused on physical products and solutions, Susan said a lot of the focus this year was on technology and analysis. One panel of OEM executives all recognized the need for data analysis, although only one panelist actually had a “data scientist” on staff.

“The ability to gather historical performance data and market trends and then analyze it to uncover insights is very important to them,” said Susan. “Some are still relying on auction houses to do that but they know they need to take it in-house.”

One of the themes that was consistently discussed at this conference was “upstream selling.” Although this is not a new topic, consignors and auctions are always looking for ways to streamline wholesale transactions to improve cashflow.
Marshalling the right cars to the right auctions continues to be a challenge, and once again the issue of analytics appeared. All parties recognize the need for strong analytics but few have that capability in-house at this time.

The topic of transportation was addressed in some manner at all of these conferences, particularly how its costs and processes need to be factored in to decision making.

“ACERTUS designed our technology to be integrative, and that really sets us apart,” Susan added. “We work with OEMs and other organizations to make it seamless, so dealerships can focus on other things – like making money.”

Watch for ACERTUS staff at other conferences and expos this year. We’d love to get to know you.

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