Excitement mounts as we all head into the week of Auto Remarketing Canada Conference 2018! We know you live and breathe for this, but in case you want to brush up, here are some of the hot topics we’ve been covering recently in AR Canada.

Rampant Acquisition, Partnership and Rebranding

March roared in like a lion.

First, Axis Auto Finance acquired Trend Financial, a subprime finance company in a $29.3 million deal, scaling Axis net finance assets up to $110 million. Then, LGM Financial and Carfinco announced a partnership, marking the former’s entree into the word of subprime lending. The very next day, Sym-Tech Dealer Services revealed their partnership with Audi Finance and Volkswagen Finance to deliver both the Audi After Care and Volkswagen Protection Plus-branded suite of F&I products and services. Finally, and most recently, CARPROOF announced their future rebranding as Carfax Canada, effective in October.

With so many deals flying around the Canadian autosphere, business junkies’ heads must be spinning. Thankfully, the folks at ARC Con will make sense of it in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

CARPROOF is a presenting sponsor and exhibitor of ARC Con, while Carfinco is a bronze sponsor. Track down their reps at the conference by registering here.

High Used-Car Values

Overall, used-car prices have remained at historic highs judging from Canadian Black Book’s Used Vehicle Retention Index, with compacts and sub-compacts leading the pack, growing in price since last February by some six percent. Over that same time, minivans and full-sized pickups have slipped in price by 5.3 and 2.2 percent, respectively.

In an interview with AR Canada, CBB Vice President of Research & Editorial Brian Murphy pointed to a healthy economy, used-vehicle exports to the United States and just the general rising trend of the used-car market over the past decade as determinants for the steadily rising values of used cars.

What comes up must come down, though, and a lull of three to four years has been predicted by Murphy.

Quoted by AR Canada, CBB President Brad Rome stated, “It would be hard for us to continue breaking sales records throughout 2018 and beyond.”

While it might not be a bubble, remarketers across the country should keep their eye on the market.

Brian Murphy will speak at ARC Con 2018. Register now.

Strong CPO Market

Along with high retention values for used cars, the Canadian certified pre-owned market has been going strong for some time, with many German luxury and Asian economy marques leading the pack.

The strength of CPO sales will also figure into maintaining the record values for used cars, and high numbers of lease returns over the past few years (about 225,000 annually between 2013 and ’17) have led to more cars becoming easier to certify, thereby retaining their value., according to KAR Auction Services Chief Economist Tom Kontos.

“I would expect certified used-vehicle sales continue to grow in Canada and provide demand/supply support to wholesale values because those off-lease units that start coming back are perfect candidates to be certified cars,” Kontos said in an interview with AR Canada.

The CPO market might be in for a major upswing, too. That figure of 225,000 over the last four years might be dwarfed by an estimated 400,000 annual lease returns between 2019 and 2021.

You can see Tom Kontos speak at ARC Con 2018. Register here.

More Consumers Buying Online

According to a CBB poll, upwards of 51 percent of Canadian car buyers expect to purchase their next ride within two years, and 27 percent will likely buy that car fully on the Internet.

New generations of digital natives coming of age contribute largely to that figure. Between respondents aged 18-34, 36 percent would consider buying fully online, compared to the paltry 11 percent who would consider buying online seen among those in the 55+ age bracket.

““This would be a major shift in automotive retailing, and one that is similar to how millennials research, shop for and purchase so many of their goods today,” CBB’s Brian Murphy said in an interview with AR Canada.

However, dealers shouldn’t panic: Of the methods used to research cars, dealer websites ranked highest, garnering a respectable 23 percent of the vote. All that means is that dealerships must be flexible and adapt with the times, rolling with changes as they occur.

What do you think will be the hot topics at ARC Con 2018? Let us know on Twitter! Join the convo by tweeting our handle, @AutoRemktingCAN, or by using the hashtag #ARCcon2018.