When you want to look ahead, it is usually best to reflect on the past. When we look back on where we’ve come from to where we are, we create a vision for the future.
About 12 years ago, we started to hear the initial noise of all the dot-coms and the Internet in various industries and how it would revolutionize the remarketing industry, replacing brick-and-mortar auctions.
It was also a time when the leasing phenomenon would begin to return an onslaught of vehicles to the marketplace. Commercial sellers were looking for new ways to attract more buyers for their increased volumes, as well as find ways to reduce overall cost of sales. The Internet was the answer. It worked for other industries—banking, newspapers, and airlines. Why shouldn’t it work in the remarketing industry?
As the newly appointed CEO of ADESA in 1996, I sat with many of the industry leaders: Darryl Ceccoli with Manheim, Tony Moorby with ADT Automotive, and well-respected independents Larry Tribble, Ray Nichols Larry Brasher, and others to share thoughts on how our industry could work together to put a fence around our customers, preventing outside third parties from putting us out of business.
The quote that has remained vividly in all our minds, and that has been referenced many times since, came from Darryl Ceccoli when he stated, “We need to jointly create a single system that we could offer to all our customers.”
He referred to it as “a set of railroad tracks” on which we could all travel together with our customers. Darryl probably did not realize the impact of his statement and how it is reflected on to this day.
Walking away from our initial meetings in Dana Point, Calif., we began to try to figure out how all of this could possibly work.
Keeping in mind competitive differences, distinct cultures, independent resources, and individual philosophical beliefs, the question was, “Where should we place our bet?”
Starting with AucNet
This all started with a company known as AucNet. The company originated in the Japanese auto industry, where cars were successfully being sold electronically in a theater-style facility using joysticks and keypads.
AucNet likely created the impetus for Manheim and ADT Automotive years ago to begin listing and selling vehicles electronically, first on simple bulletin boards and then using interactive online sales.