Hallett: Auction industry ‘needs to be more responsible’ in approach to sales amid COVID

By Joe Overby

CARY, N.C. – KAR Global chief executive officer Jim Hallett did not mince words Tuesday when sharing his concerns about the return of in-person auto auction sales with cars running through lanes, urging the industry to take greater responsibility for safety amid COVID-19.

During a sponsored episode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast, Hallett began by expressing his concern and disappointment from “just a personal point of view as a responsible citizen” on how the United States “as a society” has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hallett then turned to the auto auction industry at large, which he contends has been “irresponsible,” even “reckless” at times, in how sales are being handled amid COVID-19.

Hallett said he finds, “the industry overall is being what I would term as irresponsible. And in some cases, I would say that we’re being reckless.

“When you think about all the recommendations that are in place, and we’re inviting people to come together in jam-packed crowds, shoulder-to-shoulder, in physical auction lanes, running cars, I think we’re putting our employees at risk,” Hallett said. “We’re asking our employees to stand in the way of risk, and to be subject to this infection — and possibly death — as a result of doing their job.

“We’re putting our customers at risk. And the industry, I think, needs to be more responsible. And it’s not because we’ve made the decision to go digital,” he said, referring to KAR’s all-digital approach. “We’ve gone digital because we’ve made the decision that it’s the way of the future … So, we’re going digital regardless of what the recommendations are. We’re a digital company.

“But I think overall, I think the industry needs to really think about, ‘How do I be more responsible, in terms of how I gather and how I sell vehicles?’ And listen, it’s not just the big auction chains, but all auctions have the opportunity to sell digital. And all auctions have the responsibility to keep their employees and their customers safe.”

Read the complete article on autoremarketing.com (paywall), or listen to the podcast below.

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