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26 Aug 20

Remarketing Expert Track: experts reveal how COVID has changed remarketing process

“COVID-19 has taught us to work differently,” said one of the speakers at today’s webinar on the pandemic’s impact on remarketing in Europe. Filled with facts and figures, the session revealed the trends defining the industry’s future. Missed it? See below for info on how to re-watch. 

The webinar was part of the Remarketing Expert Track, a series of expert insights set up by Fleet Europe and CARA, the European Car Remarketing Association. Hosting the event was remarketing specialist Johan Verbois, who had invited three experts from different backgrounds to shine their light on the session’s topic, ‘The impact of COVID-19 on remarketing processes’. 

V-shaped curve
Offering the viewpoint of a vehicle inspection specialist, Macadam CEO Bertrand Donck demonstrated how the lockdown earlier this year had created “a clear V-shaped volume curve”. In April, volume was down to about a third of normal, but by June and July, volume had bounced back to almost normal – but with significant regional differences, notably between Northwest and Southern Europe. Another important distinction: long-term lessors digested the lockdown better than short-term rental companies, which swiftly shed a lot of volume. 

“The new-car market remains weak, especially in the private segment – except in countries like France and Germany, where incentives have been provided. But the used-car market is booming,” Mr Donck observed. With inspections down about 10 to 15% across the board, he expected the market to bounce back soon, with a 5 to 10% increase in 2021. 

Skyrocketing demand
Tom Knaepkens, Managing Director of Andex, approached the topic from the pont of view of an independent vehicle trader. “Trading came to an almost complete stop from mid March. Like other traders, we adopted a strategy of maintaining price levels. That proved to be the right choice, as demand skyrocketed after the end of the lockdown. Our volume for May was 40% higher than the same month last year – for June, it was 100%.”

One very noticeable trend: “There’s a diesel revival going on. Because they’re not flying, people want a car that is economical for driving long distances.” But not everything is coming up roses: “The next six to nine months will be challenging, both for OEMs and for the independent trade channel.” 

Learning opportunity
Speaking for Arval, CCO Bart Beckers pointed out a blessing in disguise at the start of the pandemic: “We were fortunate that both the new-vehicle and the remarketing chain came to a sudden stop at the same time, otherwise we would have had the added problem of dealing with an increasing vehicle stock.”

Another lucky coincidence: “Unlike during the financial crisis, liquidity never was an issue, so we never had to consider dumping stock. This time around, banks are part of the solution rather than the problem. Driver sales continued, and were very successful; and contract extensions solved much of the availability issue. Overall, we’ve seized upon COVID-19 as an unprecedented learning opportunity. For example, it’s caused an acceleration of the digitalisation of various processes – which was an ongoing trend even before the crisis. And we’ve introduced second-hand leasing to a wider region than we already did before. Mainly for the private market as yet, but some corporates are certainly considering it as an option for their own fleets.”

The experts agreed that the post-COVID remarketing industry would be different from the one that went before. “There will be more focus on the customer journey; and on the industrialisation of the process,” said Mr Donck. “COVID-19 has shown the way toward fully digital end-to-end handling of vehicle inspections and handovers,” concluded Mr Beckers. 

Watch the recording of this webinar below.

The next event in the Remarketing Expert Track will be ‘A look into the future of the used-car market’. This webinar will discuss 
•    
The future of Used Cars profitability
•    The future ratio Used to new Car market
•    The evolution of used-car sales and used-car opportunities in B2B
•    Increasing the reach of the Dealer network (e.g. C2C)

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, 23 September, from 11 am to noon (CEST). Click here to register

Authored by: Frank Jacobs