Article By Robert Hollenshead - My Perspective on What's Next - Mariada
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Article By Robert Hollenshead – My Perspective on What’s Next

We at the MARIADA association thank Bob for providing us with his perspective on our industry for 2021.

I appreciate this opportunity to give my perspective on what’s next, and what will be the new insurmountable obstacles that we as dealers will have to navigate, in order to dominate.

Today is the day before Christmas 2020. We have experienced a year that didn’t make us see 20/20, but in fact fogged up everybody’s vision. If you/we made it through this year standing, then whatever gets thrown at us will feel like a warm breeze, look like a great view smoking a non-fugazy Cohiba, with a bank balance that has a pile of zeroes (minimum 8), a happy wife, no mortgages, a lot packed with units with no floorplan, pacemaker battery on full charge, and with no aches or pains. What we see in the rearview mirror was for most of us the most profitable year, and “cred”, in that we made it through an apocalyptic historic time.

You all have incredible experiences that can be equated to those told by the short-lived Pony Express riders, many of whom ended in a travelling circus, drunk, divorced, broke, telling incredible stories (with no need for embellishment). One big difference is they ended broke, while most of us had a great year, thank whichever God you worship. It has left us leaner, meaner, car selling machines, and stronger… but hungry for what’s next. So remember, when we are telling “boot camp and war stories” in the future, they will be held in great esteem by trailing generations.

Now my ‘opine’ relating to all things “VIN”. What used to be is not returning, so get over it, but please try to keep your common sense. The old school practices (as much as we love them) are worn out. Software that has been tattooed in your brain leaving you with vendor fatigue is honestly worn out, shot, dial up phone kind of shot. This is not a bad thing but a good thing because it makes room for dealer centric innovation…not reshuffled deck chairs on the Titanic variations. Again, please hold on to your common sense compass.

I make this reference because the tide of possibilities has disregard for how things used to be. At the risk of restating some obvious facts, I will make a few predictions.

Our future will evolve on a universal platform that continues with the VIN end to end, birth to death. It is agnostic, inclusive, forces process, exaggerates transparency, leverages data for cred, runs at the speed of instant as well as insured, creates efficiency that guarantees profit, ends bidder fatigue, eliminates theft by ignorance, is uberized, kindling lit, blurs the line of wholesale and retail by revealing the best end user, and most importantly enables credible fact-based verifiable communication between all buyers and sellers. It will cost less and not have the center of the watermelon gauged out by vendors with ridiculous arrows or selling to the bottom. Most importantly, just like Amazon, it is focused on the user experience, not in word but in deed, and will be 100% commonsensical. Gibberish not included.

There is no doubt all sales will be digitized to a greater degree. Everyone in one way or another will be chasing a “Carvanaesque“ experience (like them or not they moved the conversation/expectations so please don’t be a denier ‘cause we don’t want you to end up on LinkedIn “open to work”).

On the remarketing side, the camaraderie we all found and enjoyed at auctions will be further reduced to social media (sorry, ain’t the same), but some have used the opportunity very nicely, branding themselves, and more will follow. As we wade through the old vs. new alternative reshuffling process near short term the auctioneer counting Simulcast (like it or not as I predicted well over a decade ago) will remain the unseated heavyweight champ…we will see. But here is my belief. The ultimate winner will come similar to a virus, denied at first, then panic will set in, but ultimately by its nature will win. This sounds crazy as a hoot owl, right? I believe it will be here to change our world as we know it in 2021 and will contain all of the criteria stated previously so reread that paragraph.

Who Dat? is the question. Why Dat is simple. ‘Cause it works for dealers, if not for vendors. When Dat? I say soon Dat.

About the Author

Robert Hollenshead is a wholesale automobile dealer and remarketing veteran of nearly four decades and the President of R. Hollenshead Auto Sales, Inc., Manheim, PA – the largest independent wholesale vehicle dealership in the World with weekly sales at or about 600 units. His operation and many innovations lead the way in cutting edge technologies that serve the entire auto wholesale industry.

Robert Hollenshead, Founder
R Hollenshead Auto Sales
President Galves Market Data
CEO Accu-Trade
Founder MADE Logistcs

Contact Information:
R. Hollenshead Auto Sales, Inc.
Telephone: +1 561.404.7992
Billing FAX: +1 888.223.0007
FAX: +1 888.593.6089

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