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AIS Recap: Insights from the Auto Intel Council (Part I)

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I joined several other members of the Auto Intel Council at the Auto Intel Summit in May. The Council is a private organization that includes the leading intelligence companies in the automotive space. We talked about the latest developments in auto fintech as well as digital retail and remarketing innovations. Our panel included Tanya Sanders from Wells Fargo Auto; Brad Smith from Experian; Rusty West of Market Scan and Nick Zulovich of Cherokee Media Group.

I provided observations on the current state of the recovery space. Recovery volumes are at an all-time low because of impacts of the pandemic: stimulus money and unemployment payments are being pumped into the market and mortgage forbearances continue – all of which are freeing up cash flow for consumers. Lenders are preparing themselves for the delinquency bubble we’re expecting in the coming months. We’re working with many of them to use location data and analytics across their portfolios and at all stages of the loan cycle to identify and mitigate risk and assess ability to collect and recover.

Tanya Sanders also talked about increased reliance on technology and data as Wells Fargo works with dealer clients. She pointed to solutions like automated decisioning processes to support loan applications; e-contracting to keep cash moving for dealers; and accelerated titling. All of this has created a smoother, faster and easier process for dealers and customers, which will continue to benefit the industry long after the pandemic.

Brad Smith discussed trends in the auto lending space including decreases in deep sub-prime and sub-prime loans and the swift drop in volumes in both new and used vehicles in 2020 and equally sharp rise in the first half of 2021. He also mentioned inventory shortages as the newest industry challenge to come out of the pandemic, and how this is driving a new supply and demand dynamic.

Similar to the lending segment, Rusty West talked about how auto dealers are also embracing technology and digital retailing as consumer behaviors are changing. Consumers are shopping differently now and dealers are responding with flexible and innovative ways to serve them with online platforms and digital processes.

The resounding theme I heard throughout our discussion was the need for all segments of the industry to embrace technology, innovation and effective use of data as we continue to manage the impacts of the pandemic.

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