AFSA 2024 Recap

AFSA 2024 Recap Informed

The Informed team is just back from a great trip to the AFSA 2024 Vehicle Finance Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. It’s the first leg of a weeklong marathon of auto industry meetings that some call “Hell Week.”  The week wrapped up with the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Conference.

We humbly thank the many partners, clients, and prospects we engaged with – The Bellagio was hopping!  And the walk from the hotel rooms to the Convention Center guaranteed that participants had no trouble reaching their 10,000 steps!

The theme of this year’s Conference was “All In.”  It slyly refers to Vegas gambling, but also nods to the tightly integrated auto market, where indirect lenders, vendors, dealers, and manufacturers all work together to support the consumer purchase.

For those who couldn’t attend, we’re happy to share our key takeaways!

Capital One President doubles down on the transformative impact of AI

Sanjiv Yajkin, President of Capital One Financial Services, presented a keynote encouraging attendees to jump into AI. He called it the biggest opportunity for economic and personal career transformation that we’ll see in our professional lives. He even offered a brief primer on transformer models. Since we’re an AI-driven company, we wholeheartedly agree.

Rolling the dice on the economic outlook

Tim Gill, lead AFSA economist, reported on the latest Federal interest rate prognostications. Bottom-line, the risk of a recession continues to lessen. And, if inflation numbers hold steady, economists expect the Fed to drop interest rates in the middle of this year, improving car affordability.

The Regulators aren’t bluffing

In Committee meetings and on the main stage, speakers repeatedly cautioned that regulators remain very active. The auto industry should expect continued, intense regulator focus, particularly on Ancillary/Voluntary Protection products. The CFPB is also expected to finalize a slew of rules in the final months of this presidential term.

The US EV industry needs some lucky dice rolls

Consultant Michael Dunne delivered a sobering and eye-opening presentation on the emerging competitive threat of Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers. Chinese exports of EVs have quadrupled to 4 million units over the past five years. These manufacturers are knocking out high-quality $15,000 to $25,000 cars that don’t have a comparable alternative in the US. 

But impending Chinese competitors may not be the biggest challenge to EV sales growth. A diverse roster of speakers stated that performance issues (particularly in cold weather) and limits on vehicle range deter mainstream consumers from adopting EVs. Car buyers prefer hybrid over EVs right now.

CEO panel considers the full house

A rock star CEO roundtable on Thursday morning capped off the event. The panel included Tommy Moore, Jr (CEO, Stellantis), Betty Jotanovic (President Chrysler Capital, Santander), George Fussell (CEO, SafCo), and Petar Vucerevic (SVP, American Honda). They shared their companies’ diverging paths on remote work vs in the office. George Fussell favored the in-person approach , while Betty Jotanovic cited the need to balance on-site collaboration with supporting employee flexibility.   

Fraud was also hot-topic as one CEO noted that his company has seen more fraud in the past two years than in the past twenty. In the arms race between fraudsters and lenders, the CEOs looked forward to seeing industry tools that can counter these threats. 

All-in-all, it was a great week to be in Vegas. Hope to see you next year!

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Tom Oscherwitz VP of Legal
Tom Oscherwitz is Informed’s VP of Legal and Regulatory Advisor.  He has over 25 years of experience as a senior government regulator (CFPB, U.S. Senate) and as a fintech legal executive working at the intersection of consumer data, analytics, and regulatory policy.

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