Jeremy Louisos from Preowned Auto Logistics talks with Joe Overby from Auto Remarketing about Used Car Week 2021. They explain how this week combines five conferences in one. Then, they talk about the benefits of attending and the upcoming highlights of Used Car Week.
Jeremy Louisos: Hi, my name is Jeremy Louisos, and I’m here today with Joe Overby, senior editor at Auto Remarketing, the news media for the preowned auto industry. Our topic today is Used Car Week 2021, an event beginning November 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada, combining five different conferences, uniting all corners of the used car industry. Welcome Joe.
Joe Overby: Jeremy, thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here.
What Is Used Car Week?
Jeremy: Yeah. We’re excited to get going. So we’ll jump right in. For those new to Used Car Week, what is this event all about?
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a look at the used car industry from a holistic standpoint, and each of the five conferences within Used Car Week represents a different piece of the used car industry.
If you look at our logo, you’ll see it’s a concentric circle where each little piece connects to the next one, and that really is the whole mission of Used Car Week, is that the preowned retail side is very much connected to the auto finance side, which is very much connected to the remarketing and the repo and recovery side, and vice versa.
So they all feed one another and they’re all connected. And we just explore the trends throughout, how they’re each unique, but then again how each one connects to the other as part of one big used car ecosystem.
Pre-Owned Conference at Used Car Week
Jeremy: Yeah. And so what are those pieces?
Joe: It’s divided into two blocks. The first block is our Pre-Owned Con, which looks at the auto retail side. You’re looking at the mainly dealer-focused content, used cars specifically, certified pre-owned. We have a bit of dealer training in there as well and additionally, as part of that first block, we have the Auto Fin Con, which looks at auto finance and not just the financing of vehicles, but a little bit of the FinTech side of that.
We also have our Repo Con, which is connected to auto finance, but it’s more of the repossession and recovery piece of automotive. That’s going to run Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning.
National Marketing Conference and NAVICON
Joe: Wednesday afternoon begins our second block of Used Car Week and this year it’s two conferences that are part of that. It’s the National Marketing Conference, which is our flagship conference of Used Car Week. It deals with the wholesale side of the business, auctions, consignors, remarketing, the B2B selling of vehicles, essentially.
And then this year we’ve actually added a new conference to it. We worked with Steve Greenfield at Automotive Ventures to launch a new conference called NAVICON, and that stands for the National Auto Ventures and Investors Conference. Steve has curated that agenda. He’s a brilliant guy and really knows the ins and outs of that space. That’s going to be on Thursday, November 18th of Used Car Week.
And it’s going to look at a bit of the automotive tech, a lot of the startups, a lot of the space, new companies that have come into this space to tackle pain points in automotive, but also just the investment and capital side of it. You know, why is there so much investment now in automotive, specifically used cars, looking at the mergers and acquisitions, all of that behind-the-scene, follow-the-money piece of it. We’re really excited about that. That’s going to run concurrently with NRC on that Thursday. But it’s a new conference for us and we’re excited. So now we have five conferences as part of Used Car Week.
What’s New at Used Car Week 2021?
Jeremy: Yeah, that sounds awesome. I know my team’s very excited to be a part of the event this year. We’re kind of new and kind of our second time around. So last year the event was done virtually. That was our first experience, but I’m sure many folks that are part of this event have been going for years. So I guess for those returning, what may be different this year than in previous years?
Joe: I think the biggest piece is going to be that new NAVICON content, but I think one thing that really has generated a lot of focus for us this year, particularly and I would even say somewhat surprisingly, in that second half of the week is a big focus on electric cars.
And that’s never really been a piece of Used Car Week in the past, simply because it was such a small side of the market and mostly focused on the new car side and production, and even that was still in its infancy. But now a lot of the used electric vehicles are coming back into the market and auction companies and people who work on the wholesale side are having to prepare for that. And then also dealers are just having a lot more used car inventory that’s just becoming a bigger piece of the market.
So specifically, our Pre-Owned Con and our national market conference are going to have new this year electric vehicle panel discussions and that sort of thing, which is a new thing for us. And of course the NAVICON conference, which that’s a very seamless place for electric vehicles to fit. But that’s a new wrinkle this year. I think there’s a lot of new companies, I think as part of the NAVICON content, not just the fact that it’s a new conference. But the fact that there’s going to be the focus on the investment side of the business, we haven’t really had a whole lot of that in the past. I think that’s where we’re going to see the most change in the agenda this year.
Who Attends Used Car Week?
Jeremy: Yeah. So with so many topics being covered, five conferences into one and all different types of expertise, there’s a lot going on for lots of different folks. So I guess my question would be who usually attends, or who do we expect this year to be attending Used Car Week?
Joe: It’s really all across the board. I think the first half of the week, the first block you’ll see a lot of dealers, finance companies, and then vendors to those companies that work with those two groups of people. The repo space, you have all kinds of different companies within that, forwarders, repossession companies, a lot of analyst types, dealers.
Like I said, I think that is probably the primary target of Pre-Owned Con, so you’ll see a lot of that. Second half of the week is largely auctions, consignors, companies that are … You might have, for example, a lending company where the origination side might be there the first half of the week, while the remarketing side of that lending institution might be there the second half of the week.
And then you have companies that really might touch every aspect of that. A good example of that is someone like Black Book, which has pieces of auto retail, remarketing, and auto finance. They may have different people there, that makes sense for them to be there the whole week. So you have a lot of companies that sort of have a presence in all three of those spaces, so it makes sense for them to be there the whole week. That’s the unique thing about used car work too, ist the fact that it does unite so many disparate pieces of the used car industry. You’ll have some people that choose to attend the entire week.
Used Car Week Offers a Lot of Options for Different People in the Industry
Jeremy: So this week is more than just a little something for everyone in the industry, maybe a lot of somethings for a number of different folks.
Joe: Yeah, no doubt. I think somebody who is primarily going to Used Car Week for Pre-Owned Con, let’s say…. they might find something interesting at Fin Con and meet a new company that they hadn’t worked with before. The beauty of say the second block this year is the fact that the NAVICON, which is, as I mentioned, primarily investment-focused, but attendees may also be able to attend a NRC National Marketing Conference session and learn more about a segment of the business that they may be interested in investing in or a company they’re interested in partnering with. So there’s a lot of cross pollination between the different conferences and attendees and that sort of thing.
Used Car Week Leads to New Opportunities
Jeremy: It sounds like those might be opportunities to do something outside of your initial goals for attending. You might find yourself at this event and as you’re passing a speaker or you get into a conversation, you might be led towards a totally new opportunity.
Joe: Yeah. And people may be wondering what advice you might give for their first time at this event. I think that right there, step outside of your comfort zone or your area of the business and maybe challenge yourself. If you’re a dealer or you’re a finance company, go to a session or two of the conference you didn’t come for, just to be able to meet somebody new or learn about a topic that may have a trickle down impact and affect your segment of the business.
Jeremy: Have you had an experience like that attending these events?
Joe: Yes. I think it’s been a while since I’ve been going to events regularly, but that is one of the beauties that I maybe take away from going to conferences outside of ours … I may go with a certain agenda of, okay, I want to interview these people or I want to go to these sessions, but inevitably I’ll walk into a session I wasn’t planning on participating in, or meet a company at the last minute at a networking reception and learn something new.
That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about going to live conferences is that you go in there with a plan, but you’re open-minded to be able to shift your plan a little bit and meet someone or attend a session you didn’t really intend on attending and learn something new.
Why Is Used Car Week at Red Rock in Las Vegas?
Jeremy: Now the location, Las Vegas, Nevada, but specifically at Red Rock, was there any significance or thought behind that as the venue?
Joe: We’ve been having Used Car Week there every other year, essentially for many years. And it makes sense from a space perspective. It is such a large facility and it fits right in a warehouse based on the attendees and all the inside basics of what it takes to run a conference. But it’s also a nice atmosphere.
It’s in Las Vegas, but it’s not on the strip. It’s several miles off of the strip and you almost feel like you are in the middle of the mountain range. You’re right at the foothills of the Red Rock Mountains, and you can look out one side of your window and think, am I in Arizona, or am I in Las Vegas?
And then on the other side, you might go to another window and you see the Las Vegas strip. And so if you do want to do the whole Las Vegas, go see the lights and glamor and glitz, you can do that. It’s a short Uber ride away, but at the same time, if you want to take a step back, enjoy the wild west and the beautiful mountains and some quiet enjoyment, there’s that too. So it’s just the best of both worlds really.
Upcoming Highlights of Used Car Week
Jeremy: Really sounds like just a ton going on for this event. You have five different conferences in one, you have dealerships, you have vendors, you have a number of different partners, all combining in this one week. You have Las Vegas, you have the Strip, you have the great outdoors. I’m sure there’ll be opportunities for folks to maybe connect on some of the hiking trails that are legendary in the area. So with all that, what are you most looking forward to?
Joe: I think for me, after a year or two years of not being able to connect with folks in person, I went to a conference a couple months back and it was the first time I’d been to an in-person conference in almost two years. I think just to be able to see people in person, it makes such a difference. This will be our company’s first in-person conference in two years.
And that’s what I’m most looking forward to, just all these people that I’ve talked to on Zoom or interviewed on the phone for the past two years… it will be nice to be able to see them and bump fists with them and see them in person. The content is great, the atmosphere, the networking, everything is great, but I think really I’m a people person, I’m an expert. I get my energy from being around other folks. And I think that’s what I’m most looking forward to.
Jeremy: Same with the PAL team. We’re excited to get back out there and to see everybody over there. Joe, this has really been great. Thank you so much for bringing us through all this. How can people connect with you, Auto Remarketing and Used Car Week?
How to Learn More About Used Car Week
Joe: Sure. Well, first of all, I appreciate coming on. I always love talking about our events. To learn more about Used Car Week, you can go to usedcarweek.biz. So it’s Used Car Week dot B-I-Z. And that’ll pull up everything you need to know, from, agenda, speakers, how to register, just everything else going around the event, the hotel. That is all in one place, usedcarweek.biz.
And then autoremarketing.com, you can register for all of our e-newsletters, all of our magazines, and there’s a lot of links on there to our podcast, webinars and conferences, and really kind of a one stop shop. You can view our digital magazines there.
So that’s usedcarweek.biz, dot B-I-Z, and autoremarketing.com. And then I’m on all the social networks, LinkedIn and Twitter. I post a lot of stories and stuff there. And so just search Joe Overby on there and hear my ramblings and nonsense. But mainly usedcarweek.biz and autoremarketing.com.
Preowned Auto Logistics at Used Car Week
Jeremy: We’ll be following you there and across social media. And for all those listening, you can catch the PAL team at Used Car Week, booth 315, at any time at preownedautologistics.com. Thanks everyone for listening.