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Automobile Auction Business Nearly Wiped Out By Social Distancing

Scorpio

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#1
Automobile Auction Business Nearly Wiped Out By Social Distancing

05/20/2020 FidoSysop

Many folks have no idea how the CoronaVirus nearly wiped out the used car automobile auction business as we dealers once knew it. I say we because I’m a retired auto dealer with better than 40 years experience. Many thousands of used cars are auctioned weekly. But the coronavirus brought that thriving business to a grinding halt several weeks ago. And with social distancing auctions will possibly never be the same. Large players like Adesa and Manheim are switching to simulcast.
Manheim who already had internet simulcast bidding did just that exclusively. Unfortunately dealers were looking at poor quality photos, instead of the live auction video of the cars on the block. It was not the format online bidders were accustomed to and sales dropped kike a rock.
So now social distancing requiring people stay a minimum of 6 feet apart, the automobile auction businesses will stay closed. This business moved hundreds of thousands cars monthly throughout the U.S.A. There was the fleet and lease return sales. Banks and finance companies selling their repossessions. Franchised dealers auctioning their trade-ins. Wholesalers buying cars needing reconditioning. Just the wholesalers reselling the units they bought earlier probably accounted to ten percent of sales or better. But not any time soon thanks to the China covid-19 virus.
Google earth screen-shot of Manheim Tampa auto auction provided to show how big this flaccidity is. The auction building selling lanes are next to the marker. And the massive reconditioning facility to your left.
In the Tampa Bay area alone the cars piled up. Franchised dealers went to Facebook ads to offload their trade-ins. It is said Manheim Tampa has something like 8,000 cars that are parked bumper to bumper in rows. It’s also said they fenced in part of the dealer parking to store cars that were to be auctioned before the coronavirus and non-essential businesses were shut down.
The used car automobile auction business is more than just a place to buy and sell automobiles. Auctions are the unofficial car dealers school. Dealers must learn this business the hard way. There is no college or trade school to learn the car business. Here dealers learn all about whats hot and what’s not. Back years ago a dealer buddy said, watch that guy bidding against the coke machine.
Now this previous fantastic business model is making big changes. Online bidding will be the new business model. Gone are the days of kicking the tires. Reaching in the drivers window on the lane shaking the steering wheel, and seeing if the air blew cold. Sellers and buyers will rely on condition reports (CR) performed by the auction house itself. No CR you get what the photos show.
eBay Motors when it launched in 2000 was the talk of the town. Dealers at auctions were saying “this car will bring $$ on on eBay” now it’s mostly abandoned by car dealers. Meg and Pierre became millionaires as buyers and sellers were defrauded by fraudsters who screwed the founders community values and trust into the ground. It was trust that made selling cars online work so well. That too is gone forever!

Meanwhile the stockpile of cars is building up. Dealers are peddling $1,000 trade-ins on Facebook and Twitter. It’ll take months to make the change. Many old school dealers may end up out of business. It’s been known for years that car dealers are slow to accept technology. Like selling cars on Facebook, many dealers want to hear the phone ringing. That’s old school selling. Any dealer who want’s to be successful better work Facebook leads via smartphone and the messenger app. Buyers want to inquire about a car they are interested in by messaging the seller and asking any questions online. If a seller snoozes the buyer moves on and someone else gets the sale!
Normally I blog about politics and are a strong Trump supporter. Born in 1952, and being a lifelong used car dealer and ASE certified mechanic, I’ve seen our country go to hell over the years. I’ve witnessed Detroit who once built the finest cars in the world build total garbage. GM is still the mark of CRAP in my personal opinion. No wonder the Japanese took over the car market. The 2021’s as a rule come out in July but with the huge stockpiles of 2020 models sitting on dealers lots, the 21’s may come out later this year. Meanwhile life goes on in the automobile auction business!
As usual just my two cents worth. If you Love America and President Trump, please help me spread the good word deep into cyberspace by sharing my posts, and by adding your comments about this article below. Check out my archived posts while your here


https://main.docsplace.org/2020/05/...-out-social-distancing/?utm_source=whatfinger
 

specsaregood

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#4
When I was a kid, one of my dad's business partners was a registered dealer just so he could go to these auctions. He'd get himself and his wife and any friends/business associates used cars on the cheap at these things. I can't even recall all the cars/trucks my dad went through. Him and his partner would get a "new" used car at least every year and then hand down the old ones to kids, friends, employees, etc.
 

the_shootist

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#5
I'm much more concerned for the small family businesses like restaurants and small shops than I am car dealers and auctioneers. The phrase 'used car dealer' isn't usually associated with honesty and integrity. Everyone knows someone who's been screwed over on a car in their lifetime. Life sucks sometimes. Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug!
 

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#6
25 years ago I worked for Manheim at one of their regional offices. Even back then they were doing a lot of "virtual" auctions. They called them Simulcasts. Manheim will do just fine without the physical auctions.
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#7
Back years ago a dealer buddy said, watch that guy bidding against the coke machine.
Don't know if the bidder to watch was bidding against the Coke machine or was leaning against the Coke machine but I suspect the former. That is an important nuance to look for in on-site auctions because you can tell if the auctioneer is pulling bids or if you are actually bidding against someone.

But online auctions are completely anonymous and opaque. You can be bidding against ether in the blue sky- no one at all- but you have no way of knowing. Auctioneers are notorious for their shenanigans. Online-only auctions amps it up to a new level.
 

TAEZZAR

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#8
Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug!
Ya, but, if you are the windshield, you can clean-up & go again. If you are the bug, you'll never have the guts to do it again!!:2 thumbs up::oriental::bombs 8::rotf::rotf::rotf:
 

offourse2

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#9
I call BS. I have had a dealers license for many years. The Manhiem Orlando open auction (non franchise dealers) on Tuesday had a couple thousand cars roll thru, pretty much a normal day. ZZZZ is correct. I have used simulcast for years, the only time I actually go to an auction is to pick up a vehicle. My principal business is not selling it is repairing. I just buy cars for friends and family. I have 2 friends who are dealers one autos the other motorcycles and offroad vehicles. Both oddly enough have had there best spring seasons ever. The motorcycle dealer actually sold 39 units in one day last month, his all time record.
 

ZZZZZ

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#10
Don't know if the bidder to watch was bidding against the Coke machine or was leaning against the Coke machine but I suspect the former. That is an important nuance to look for in on-site auctions because you can tell if the auctioneer is pulling bids or if you are actually bidding against someone.

But online auctions are completely anonymous and opaque. You can be bidding against ether in the blue sky- no one at all- but you have no way of knowing. Auctioneers are notorious for their shenanigans. Online-only auctions amps it up to a new level.
Dealer automobile auctions are a bit different than most other kinds of auctions. The typical auction for a used car lasts only 30-45 seconds. The auctioneers don't have time to play games. If the car is worth $10,000, they start the bidding at $9,500 and usually it is sold after only 4 or 5 bids.

Real life auto auctions are nothing like the Barrett-Jackson classic car auctions seen on TV.
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Voodoo

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Please, does this guy really think that an extra couple feet of distance killed the business? Lol
 

D-FENZ

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#13

ZZZZZ

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There's another school of thought here too. What about all of those who used to take public transportation and rideshares who will no longer feel comfortable with that? They would be looking for their own transport and may actually spur an increase in demand for used cars. Something to think about.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/social-distancing-could-be-a-boon-to-to-car-sales-181642918.html

Trump administration awards $25 billion in emergency transit funding

David Shepardson
3 MIN READ
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration said on Thursday it was allocating $25 billion in emergency funding grants to public transportation systems facing a massive falloff in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...on-in-emergency-transit-funding-idUSKBN21K2JW
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Casey Jones

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I call BS. I have had a dealers license for many years. The Manhiem Orlando open auction (non franchise dealers) on Tuesday had a couple thousand cars roll thru, pretty much a normal day. ZZZZ is correct. I have used simulcast for years, the only time I actually go to an auction is to pick up a vehicle. My principal business is not selling it is repairing. I just buy cars for friends and family. I have 2 friends who are dealers one autos the other motorcycles and offroad vehicles. Both oddly enough have had there best spring seasons ever. The motorcycle dealer actually sold 39 units in one day last month, his all time record.
That actually makes sense. And, I, too, was at the local M/C dealer...schedule some work. Talked to the kid who sold me the machine a year ago...and commiserated with him, trying to sell during this virus.

His grin could have taken first prize from the Cheshire Cat. "I've sold six this week. My best month ever!" He said I was just in at a down time - now with so many people not working, and tax refunds and Inflation Checks out, they were fantasizing about going riding.

Was he lying? I don't think so. He looked like he could do handsprings - and he wasn't selling me anything.

What's the endgame to all this hype, do you suppose? Manheim wants a bailout credit account? Stir up more panic?
 

Irons

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I call BS. I have had a dealers license for many years. The Manhiem Orlando open auction (non franchise dealers) on Tuesday had a couple thousand cars roll thru, pretty much a normal day. ZZZZ is correct. I have used simulcast for years, the only time I actually go to an auction is to pick up a vehicle. My principal business is not selling it is repairing. I just buy cars for friends and family. I have 2 friends who are dealers one autos the other motorcycles and offroad vehicles. Both oddly enough have had there best spring seasons ever. The motorcycle dealer actually sold 39 units in one day last month, his all time record.
Thanks for your report. It's funny, I come here and read about how the damn sky is falling 6 ways from Sunday and I'm not seeing any of it. And I'm in rural Michigan. If anyplace ought to be shitting bricks over the financial fallout from the beer virus it's here, and nobody is.


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Scorpio

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#17
I am with Irons and off, no matter how much the communists want it,

the economy is still showing underlying strength IMO,

I too see it all the time, and that boo hoo flu has only temporarily stalled the overall economy.

People want to get out and do stuff, buy stuff, go places, and they have the jack to do it.

I am just not seeing any economic collapse at this time, whereas in '07 it was pretty well televised if you were willing to look
 

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The collapse will come from the complete government takeover of the financial markets. From the sudden, unconstitutional-but-unchallenged, abolishments of individual freedoms - such as freedom of movement, freedom of exchange, freedom to engage in work for compensation.

It will come from the complete debasement of the dollar. Money is ESSENTIAL to an organized economy. What sets successful nations apart from nations with resources that never succeed, is, very-often, sound money versus worthless fiat.

Ours has been fiat but relatively well managed, until the last ten years. Then, the inevitable began to happen.

These last three months, the groundshift has become an avalanche. The dollar is now worthless paper and soon will be so recognized. Those who have savings and have their wages or pensions fixed, will soon see prices rise and be unable to meet bills.

That's not a recipe for anything but revolution. And that, in turn, will cost more yet.
 

Casey Jones

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#20
The truth will out.

We can fight over opinions about what we SHOULD DO. But it's a waste to argue about what IS. I never understood bar-stool arguments about Ford-Versus-Chevy. I won't fight with someone about whether the sun will rise in the morning.

It's out of our hands. I've made all the preparations I can, and you probably have, too. Beyond that...nothing to do but watch.
 

ZZZZZ

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#21

Irons

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#22
Might be a good time soon to start shopping if you need a new vehicle.
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I thought about it but the only cars I like are hard to find. I had to order my current work shuttle and she's getting up on 180,000 miles. I use a pickup for real things but just to get around I like small hatchbacks with basic 4 cylinder engines and a manual transmission. No turbo no GDI injection no dual clutch or CVT automatic bullshit transmissions. Basic 4 banger with a 5 speed is perfect.


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Silver

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#23
The shutdown has impacted this remote region of Texas severely. The region has 2 National Parks and several popular State Parks, and tourism is the largest sector of the economy. What was unbelievable was the Commissioners in the tri-county area all voted to shutdown all hotels, airbb, campgrounds, rv parks, and bars completely, the only counties in all of Texas, with exception of Galveston County, to close everything - with no cases of the beer virus! Still no cases and they have been having free testing for all takers and still no positives.

Now that things are opening back up, business activity is very slow, almost dead. We have a ton of retired people and government employees (Border Patrol, ICE, lots of State border cops and border game wardens) and they were unaffected, but many are still sheltering place. Tourist are few and far between.

After the free money starting pouring in, I decided to list a 2013 Benz I've been wanting to part with, and it sold in one day and I could have sold it several times. All the shelter in place created pent-up demand and the free money was the icing on the cake.
 

itsamess

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The collapse will come from the complete government takeover of the financial markets. From the sudden, unconstitutional-but-unchallenged, abolishments of individual freedoms - such as freedom of movement, freedom of exchange, freedom to engage in work for compensation.
Locally and nationally I see just the opposite. More people are standing up and saying screw this unconstitutional stuff. Look at the beach goers, look at the hair salon owner, look at the MI barber just to name a few. Hell look at Georgia. Local people are really fed up and the unchallenged caving is fading fast. Even Fauci today said stuff can't go on for ever in repsonse. A lot of the big businesses that are filing for bankrupcy are the ones already in trouble that were run poorly before the "collapse" like JC Penneys, Hertz etc. The real test will of course be when the federal freebies run out at the end of June etc. However the normalcy bias for average people that want a good life not some doom and gloom sword of damocles hanging over their head. Not away to live let alone exist.

Final note, I have a friend who supplies the tourism industry. At first he was very concerned, but already he is seeing placing of orders for this summer. Most folks seem to think this was a big con that will pass sooner than later and I suspect the 4th of July this year will have some real meaning.
 

Casey Jones

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#26
Locally and nationally I see just the opposite. More people are standing up and saying screw this unconstitutional stuff. Look at the beach goers, look at the hair salon owner, look at the MI barber just to name a few. Hell look at Georgia. Local people are really fed up and the unchallenged caving is fading fast. Even Fauci today said stuff can't go on for ever in repsonse. A lot of the big businesses that are filing for bankrupcy are the ones already in trouble that were run poorly before the "collapse" like JC Penneys, Hertz etc. The real test will of course be when the federal freebies run out at the end of June etc. However the normalcy bias for average people that want a good life not some doom and gloom sword of damocles hanging over their head. Not away to live let alone exist.

Final note, I have a friend who supplies the tourism industry. At first he was very concerned, but already he is seeing placing of orders for this summer. Most folks seem to think this was a big con that will pass sooner than later and I suspect the 4th of July this year will have some real meaning.
I don't know that Hertz was run poorly. JCP is another story; we've known they'd be facing this day ten years ago.

In Michigan, I see people making noise...blowing steam. I don't see anything being done. Like, for example, a Recall petition. Some judge-shopping - which shouldn't be hard, since these actions are LAWLESS.

How about, embargoing Lansing. Nothing in our out - including water and power.

Not happening? Then we're taking it.

People will go back to their habits, the ones who can, right away. This summer's too soon. What we'll see is more Financialization of the Too-Big-To-Fail zombies, and that's a slo-mo walk. Meantime, consumer prices explode, and wages don't. Then the Left gets in the action, and some union contracts get COLA raises, and then prices go up faster.

For an historical model, look at 1971-81. The world didn't end when Nixon abolished the Gold Standard. Nope, it took time. Life was actually pretty comfortable in 1972. But then with oil disruptions, and then, labor strikes, and then, Nixon's Price Controls, which failed just as you'd expect...and then, Jerry Ford's Whip-Inflation-Now bumper-sticker campaign.

It was either that or go back to the Gold Standard.

Carter got elected partially because of the economy; but Jimmuh put the declining standard of living into overdrive. Prices were changing weekly, daily, by 1979. Jobs were evaporating like spilled rubbing alcohol.

That's what's ahead, but couple that to the INSANE amount of debt...I think it'll happen faster. I may be wrong. I hope I am - I need things to hold together ten years, and then it won't matter to me.

But bad times ahead.
 

BackwardsEngineeer

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#27
Can only tell what I'm seeing.... showed 3 homes yesterday one at 650k gone two bidders, 725k gone, and lastly almost 800 prayerfully gone to my people. There is a turn around at the entrance to my place, that many new car dealers us as a half way point to switch drivers during road tests, it has cars swinging around and drivers piling out since the relief checks went out. Restaurants are opening and people are waiting to get in, due to reduced seating. Airline traffic is increasing and although not near full flight schedules returning to normal.

just as a FYI, have also seen 3 Q stickers and 4 don't tread on me flags mounted in the bed of pick ups...
 

GOLDBRIX

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#28
There's another school of thought here too. What about all of those who used to take public transportation and rideshares who will no longer feel comfortable with that? They would be looking for their own transport and may actually spur an increase in demand for used cars. Something to think about.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/social-distancing-could-be-a-boon-to-to-car-sales-181642918.html
Public Trans has no issues in the Lexington area. I drove by a bus the other day. The driver was wearing a mask and all those on board were wearing masks. There are more buses around here than bus riders it seems so social distancing on a bus does not seem to be an issue. at least here anyway.
 

GOLDBRIX

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#29
Most folks seem to think this was a big con that will pass sooner than later and I suspect the 4th of July this year will have some real meaning.
Agree, a local web & social page started out with almost everybody support the self-quarantine plan. Dissension began in week two as more and more information was leaking out NOT from liberal left MSM.
Now, The snitches, Karens, & "Health & Safety" controllers are getting called out. Especially when they fail to address new, accepted, verified information.
One of the points being made: Is with all the data that comes out weekly from across the entire nation - How come the Modeling Projections are not becoming more accurate and getting closer to actual statistical numbers ?
The more data IN the more accurate the projections should become OR are TPTB still going with Junk IN = Junk OUT.
 

ZZZZZ

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#30
I use roofs and rubber to gauge the local economy and I cover a lot of ground commuting to work and my cabin up north.
Tarps and bald tires is a bad sign, and I'm not seeing them.

:don't know:
Every day about 7:00 AM I drive by the local plumbing supply store. The parking lot is always nearly full with contractor work trucks every day.

And my painting contractor friend who lives up the street is booked for 2-3 weeks out, as usual.

No sign of a slowdown in the Middle of Nowhere AZ.
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Voodoo

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I would agree that we are also not seeing almost any signs of a slow down. But it IS coming. It is just hard for most people to understand the economy. A lot of this was papered over with just over-the-top unemployment benies and the stimulus money. Lots of jobs have been lost and they can't/won't keep paying those benefits. Commercial real estate is going to be in real trouble and just look at how much potential value can be destroyed. The travel industry, oil industry, and lots of others will see real damage. Are they dead, no but how much damage would you expect in an economy if those were permanently cut in half?
 

Casey Jones

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#34
Rental car companies were generally under pressure.

I don't have the stats in front of me, but IIRC, business travel was down and more recreational travel was by personal auto. Which, with Liar Loans for auto buyers, was done in newer, fancier cars, statistically.

With TSA making air travel a trauma, it sometimes just made more sense to simply DRIVE to Yellowstone, or to Grandma's...
 

specsaregood

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#35
I don't know that Hertz was run poorly.
Well maybe they should have stayed away from all the H1B poogrammers:

Global vehicle rental firm Hertz has sued business process provider Accenture for failing to deliver a website that it was contracted to build in 2016, but could not produce until its services were terminated in 2018.

The company said it had contracted Accenture to undertake an "ambitious project to transform its digital identity" in 2016, which included a website and mobile applications that it could easily extend to its other rental brands.

The lawsuit said Hertz had picked Accenture after the latter "put on an impressive one-day presentation for the Hertz team that included a demonstration of the transformed Hertz digital experience". The go-live date for the project was fixed as December 2017.

But Accenture's services were terminated in May 2018 when, according to the lawsuit, Hertz said it no longer had confidence that the project would be delivered.

After Accenture began work on the project in August 2016, Hertz said it had paid the company US$32 million in fees and expenses. "Accenture never delivered a functional website or mobile app," the lawsuit alleged.
https://www.itwire.com/enterprise-s...-over-failure-to-build-ambitious-website.html

It wasn't until after they had paid 32million for a undelivered website before they figured something was wrong... not great management.
 

Casey Jones

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#36
Maybe not.

I haven't followed. But basically all businesses make goofs.

Most recover. Most times.

The last financial crunch, 2008...sank GM and Chrysler. Almost sank Ford - it was the Ford family's good luck that the new, improved, boeing-boeing Boeing had pissed off Alan Mullaly, and he was interested in a new challenge.

Even then, although he started restructuring three years earlier, with tremendous progress...Ford Motor was essentially hours away from failure, for many weeks in 2009.

Point is, timing can be the make-or-break factor. Economic panics are beyond a management team's control.
 

ZZZZZ

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#37
Stock price by itself is not indication that a company is run well or poorly.

Tesla stock is FOUR TIMES what it was a year ago.

Where is their profit?
Stock prices generally are a reflection of future profit expectations, not current profits.

How far in the future, depends a lot on the company. Could be a few months, a few years, a few decades.
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