How Pivet Continues to Build Lucrative Partnerships between Dealers and Fleet Managers – Alex Fraser, Cox Automotive

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Recently, the CBT Automotive Network was on-location at NADA 2020 in beautiful Las Vegas where host Jim Fitzpatrick spoke with Alex Fraser, AVP of Pivet and GM of Mobility Fleet Services for the Cox Automotive Mobility Group.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Jim Fitzpatrick: Last year at NADA you introduced your Pivet brand. Talk to us about, give us the overview for the last year. What’s it look like? What’s happened?

Alex Fraser: It’s been a great year. We opened our facility down by the airport in Atlanta.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: We’ve had a lot of great clients. We’ve gotten to start to do some really new work for Cox Automotive.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: Sort of the point of the facility was kind of have it be a sandbox and really start exploring what the future looks like.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Alex Fraser: And actually right at the end of the year we soft opened a second location out in Phoenix, and so more to come on that soon.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. Really?

Alex Fraser: Yeah. So it’s exciting. It’s been a great year. And we also started development on our actual software platform, which will be available very soon.

Jim Fitzpatrick: As you describe it, Pivet is a network. Does this network include dealers?

Alex Fraser: Absolutely. It’s a reliant on dealers really.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: So we believe in an autonomous, connected, electric and shared future.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: And we think a lot of those vehicles we will be owned by fleets.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: And so as we partner with the fleet owners and the fleet management companies, we see the opportunity for dealers to serve as servicers of those and in connecting all those fleet managers and fleet owners with the dealers who could service them is a huge part of what Pivet is.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Alex Fraser: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. Can you share a few short and longterm mobility predictions?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, sure. I mean none of them are going to be right, but what the heck.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Well go for it.

Alex Fraser: Yeah. I mean short term, and I think we’ve seen it this year is you know, if you look at the new car volume.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: Right? It stayed relatively flat.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: But a non secret but indicator that we see as very important is that the consumer number has dropped, and the fleet number has risen.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Alex Fraser: And so we do see that as an indicator that supports our philosophy, that it will be a greater fleet ownership.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Alex Fraser: And how that fleet utilizes it, whether it’s in a shared kind of application or kind of an alternative ownership model.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: I think that’s a kind of in the longterm space, where there’s a lot more questions than there are answers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Alex Fraser: But you know, we do see that in the numbers right now. So that’s not even a prediction, it’s just a fact.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, yeah.

Alex Fraser: But it’s an important one.

Jim Fitzpatrick: What are the key drivers of your business?

Alex Fraser: For us it’s, it’s really just staying connected.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: To both the consumer, the dealer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: The OEMs, and the fleet management companies.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Alex Fraser: Which are people that we’ve been doing business with for 75 years. You know, this is Manheim’s 75th year.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Alex Fraser: And as we’ve grown, you know, as the foundational company of Cox Automotive-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Alex Fraser: -our entire existence has been about the growing and maturing and kind of exploration of what’s next.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: -in the transportation business. I mean that’s when Auto Trader started, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Alex Fraser: I mean at the time, keep in mind we were doing a lot of newspaper advertising, and we owned a lot of newspapers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s true.

Alex Fraser: And it was really profitable.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Alex Fraser: And so those guys weren’t necessarily supporting the beginning of autotrader.com.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: But in that same spirit of where’s this all going for tomorrow, and how can we be serving all of our partners that have been our partners for 75 years?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Alex Fraser: That’s what this is all about.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Are there any new investments Cox Automotive in the mobility group specifically are exploring right now?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, let’s go through our whole corporate strategy. Does that sound good? Does everybody want to see that?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Hello? Is this on?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Let’s go.

Alex Fraser: No, look, it’s no secret that Cox Automotive has not organically grown everything we have.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Alex Fraser: We have certainly made acquisitions over the years.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. A few.

Alex Fraser: Yeah, one or two and that will always be part of how we grow, but you know we also start things organically like Pivet, like autotrader.com back in the day, and Manheim Express and things like that. And so as we look at mobility, I think our strategy is really stay connected to the customer, stay connected to the consumer as well, like our customer is obviously generally usually a dealer, OEM, or fleet management company.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: And then the actual consumer and their experience and what their expectations are.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Alex Fraser: And then make sure that we’re partnering with or building companies that support that future and really help it grow into whatever it’s going to become.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Fantastic. Alex Fraser, doing what you got to do to help dealers, right?

Alex Fraser: One day at a time.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s what it’s all about.

Alex Fraser: One of my earliest mentors told me never bet against a car dealer. You better believe-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s exactly right.

Alex Fraser: -hat’s the foundational thing that I have never forgotten whether I worked at the auctions or here at Pivet is our dealers are the heartbeat of who we are as a company.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Alex Fraser: They fight for every dollar they have. They’re competitors, they like to win, and as folks that run in marketplaces, we love that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s great.

Alex Fraser: That’s in DNA of who we are.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great.

Alex Fraser: And so that’s why I love being connected to them.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Alex Fraser: And love working with them.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great. For dealers that want to learn more about Pivet, just go online or if you’re here at the show, make it over to Pivet, which is Cox Automotive as well. You guys are always on the cutting edge of all things automotive, so thank you very much for joining us here on the show.

Alex Fraser: Thanks for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks.

Alex Fraser: Take care.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Good luck.

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