AM Live – What we learned part 1

Andy Whitehair – Autofinity, CEO

This year was our third AM Live and our first as a sponsor, we put the Autofinity name to ‘The Science of Used Car Stocking’ panel discussion which I chaired. 

I was joined by panel members Neil Smith, former Imperial Cars operations director and Cazoo retail operations director, now heading up automotive consultancy, Motorvait; Craig Petty, sales director at Hatfields, where Autofinity’s ViHUB has been in operation since last year; and Alex Jones COO at Bristol-based Carbase/Vanbase, the largest used car and van retailer in the South West.

Far more comfortable in the role of panellist or simply presenting, acting as chair was a little daunting but with some input from AM, I drew on issues dealers have highlighted to us due to lack of data integrity and the enormity of group vehicle inventory management for inspiration.

What were my take-aways?

Thanks to our expert panellists, their informed discussion and questions and comments from the floor, I took away so much, that it warranted two articles.

Robust data as the fallback in tough market conditions 

Used car stock has been affected by several industry influences over the past three years although more successes than failures have resulted in a largely optimistic outlook prevailing. However, when the market is hit by extraordinary circumstances, such as some of the challenges we have faced throughout the year and will most certainly continue next year, proactive dealers rely on data to support decision making.

What happens when the market fails to conform

Pre-Covid, the market was very consistent and generally, dealers could be confident in their knowledge of what stock would sell quickly, the challenges they faced, and, to a certain extent, how to meet and overcome them. The pandemic changed all that and since then the market has not followed a traditional pattern based on historical performance. Thus, dealers are increasingly reliant on data to inform their predictions and ultimately their strategy.

The return of the seasonal market

Having said that, recently the market has shown signs of becoming more seasonal again whilst over the past 608 weeks it has been more volatile with prices dropping. In response, proactive dealers have focused on stock profile and speed of sale together with the necessity to improve each process which takes a car to the digital and physical forecourt and sold as quickly as possible. Increasing speed to market and stock turn involves managing the used car supply chain more efficiently and adopting dynamic pricing supported by data insights to react to changing market conditions.

Dealer insights

The speeding up of disposal channels is an area under scrutiny for some dealer groups. Craig Petty of Hatfields told attendees that the group had invested in the refurbishment process of every grade two listed car to increase it to grade one. By so doing, the group has found it is selling cars at a faster rate at auction and crucially, these vehicles are returning the best profit.

The scourge of multiple systems and the Autofinity solution

With some dealers having an eyewatering 200-300 systems in place across their dealer group which are often disconnected, such lack of integration has become a blind spot in smooth dealer operations and efficiencies. The ability to amass such disparate data sources into one rich pool with APIs connecting systems and suppliers is transformative. For example, the ability to change the mileage or the price of a vehicle once only for it to automatically update multiple systems delivers efficiencies and reduces risk. 

Many dealers have no idea how many of their systems are properly integrated whilst a complete reliance on just the DMS as the source of real-time vehicle information is dangerous as there is every chance that chunks of DMS data are not accurate. 

Autofinity’s ViHUB platform overcomes such obstacles and I was delighted the session provided us with the opportunity to highlight its features.


To panellists and audience members, for your input, observations and insights. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I went away with the thought that we’re all on the same page. Look out for the second article on my observations of our AM Live panel debate. Our 60-day trial enables dealers to experience the benefits of ViHUB free of charge. 

Get in touch to arrange a meeting, demo or trial of ViHUB or PiHUB:


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