Peter Grøftehauge, Autorola: “Offline auctions will vanish”
We've been online for less than a quarter century, and it's already difficult to imagine the world before. As technology continues its creative destruction of old business models, it will soon be hard to picture vehicle auctions that are not concluded over the Internet, says Peter Grøftehauge, CEO of Autorola, the Denmark-based specialist in online remarketing.
The Internet has shaken up the traditional customer portfolio of remarketing auctioneers: lease companies are increasingly reselling their end-of-lease vehicles via their own online channels, for example. But Mr. Grøftehauge isn't nervous, using the lease sector's own unique selling point against it: “Just like managing fleets is their core business and not their customers', so is selling cars online our core business, and not theirs. In the long run, I am convinced we will outperform the lease companies. But it won't be easy, nor soon. We have a very long journey ahead of us. We will lose some cars, but we will also win back volume”.
One thing is certain, Grøftehauge contends: “Offline auctions will vanish. Things are clearly moving in that direction. The advantages of online versus offline are just too great.” The fluidity of the transition from one to the other is such that it's hard to determine how much exactly takes place online already these days. “Because how do you define an online auction? Does it count if the advert was placed online, but then acted upon offline? Or does the sale also have to be effected via the Internet?”
To weather the storms that are surely coming, Autorola is constantly strengthening its USP – delivering best value in online remarketing – and Indicata is the company's most recent addition to its arsenal of arguments.
“Indicata is an online tool that gives our customers a live view of the market. They can check the current prices of the cars in their fleet in real time, both for retail and wholesale prices. It allows them to get a picture of the demand for certain models that exist on the market, at any given time. We know this tool offers valuable information and has an excellent performance, because we've been using a previous version of it in our Danish home market for the last 15 years.”
Fleet Monitor is another tool shoring up Autorola's Unique Selling Proposition: “It's a management system that assists fleet managers in the defleeting process of their vehicles.” It is of course online, and the information is again in real time.
Someone once said that the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed. Are these two tools examples of the future for online remarketing – and for Autorola itself? Grøftehauge thinks so: “In 2020, five years from now, the vast majority of cars will be sold online. We currently have a strong market position, and good opportunities to continue to outperform our competitors. We will do so by developing the online tools that will give us an edge over the competition. But the bottom line will always remain the same: we need to prove that we have a more efficient process, that we have more efficient tools, and ultimately that we offer better value to our customers.”