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Move into used-vehicle valuation signals shift for CarProof


CarProof founder and president Paul Antony always contended his company would one day provide tools, solutions and support for every stage of the remarketing lifecycle. That included appraising, trading, buying and selling and more.

And while its success with vehicle history reports has catapulted CarProof into a remarketing world powerhouse since its inception in 2000, the best could be yet to come for the London, Ont.-company.

Next year, CarProof is planning to leap into vehicle valuations with data its says could turn competitors on their collective ears – high volumes of actual retail and wholesale transaction data along with listing data.

“What really matters in vehicle valuation is what cars are selling for and we have that data,” Antony says.

“We’re entering into valuation because of the significant gaps in accuracy that exist right now. It’s a natural extension for CarProof and we’re approaching it from the same angle as we do our vehicle history reports – we want to use real transactional data to produce the most accurate and comprehensive valuation tool available in Canada.”

The game plan, first detailed at a client advisory board meeting in early October before being further elaborated in an interview with Canadian AutoWorld, will see the valuation tool launch in early 2015.

Joe Varkey, CarProof V-P of marketing and communications, said the unique combination of price information data comes from multiple sources with “built-in levels of redundancy.”

“We’ve been building this set of data sources for three years and we continue to add to it,” Varkey explains, adding he couldn’t reveal the identity of the data sources.

While it should be noted that other valuation companies use actual retail and
wholesale data to determine values, CarProof executives say from their perspective, reliance on listing data and a limited amount of wholesale data leaves a lot of room for improvement.

“There may be some providers that have some limited retail data, but the reason our offering is a game-changer is due to the sheer volume of sold data we have.”

If you’re a dealer selling a 2010 Impala, Antony says, it’s great to know what other dealers are asking for them, but what are they selling for?

“That’s what really matters.”

The information will be updated in real time to allow for the most accurate values in the market.

The second phase will be a VIN-specific valuation tool that will detail exactly what that model is selling for across Canada as opposed to what similarly outfitted and reconditioned models sold for. The VIN-specific tool should be out towards the end of 2015.

Varkey says the rollout strategy is still being determined but all formats – desktop, mobile and tablet – will eventually be supported.

Industry watchers had assumed CarProof was planning some sort of valuation product after its purchase of Canadian Red Book this past summer.

He says Red Book was an established brand with a solid existing customer base and that its acquisition was step one towards an overall valuation strategy.

This expansion also comes as little surprise given the 2013 deal CarProof signed with private equity giants Hellman & Friedman. The international firm bought a minority stake for an undisclosed amount. At the time, CarProof officials said the move would help the organization grow strategically and organically.

Varkey says this latest product growth is less about the capital influx from the Hellman & Friedman deal but rather the access to its suite of subject matter experts.

“We need to become a product-launching machine and Hellman & Friedman is helping us do that with access to resources. All of our internal timelines have been sped up significantly thanks to the philosophy and the access to knowledge they bring,” he says.

What’s Next
In addition to the valuation tool and the VIN-specific version near the end of the year next year, CarProof says there is more on the 2015 road map.

Varkey says there are plans for a next generation of the RECON appraisal tool. RECON was released this past summer and allows dealers to access a massive parts and labour database to help show customers real reconditioning costs at trade in.

The program also connects with virtual auctions like OPENLANE and the upcoming Trader Exchange allowing users to create a condition report and post directly to either online auction venue.

Varkey also wants to stress that new avenues of business do not mean a deviation from the vehicle history report roots. They are building out, beside, above and below the core product calling it the basis of everything they do.

“We are adding millions of verified odometre records all the time and continuously improving the core product adding crash, finance, incident, shop data, service records and more,” he says. “We are also working on adding a very robust way to list number of owners.”

In response to dealer feedback for more advertising, the company is piloting micro-TV campaigns across the country.