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Wholesale Markets - Kentucky

Clint Lutz, general manager, Paducah Auto Auction, Paducah, Ky.:

“We’ve been in business since 1991.

“We have three lanes and we’re running all three.

“Volumes are pretty much the same as this time last year. They may be off just a hair, but we’ll run 200 to 225 every week.

“Sales percentages have been in the high 50s, low 60s. On a good week, it will hit almost 70 percent.

“(Percentages are) about the same as this time last year. Of course, July
always turns around and it’s slow.

“We get about 150 dealers in the lanes. It’s probably about the same as this time last year.

“Just looking across the lanes, it seems the same.

“But last year, we didn’t have the computer system we have now that keeps up with that. We have a good set-up that tracks the bidders, the number of them in the lanes, the sales percentages (etc.), the whole nine yards.

“Our old system would just check people in but not really track who was here and when they came.

“We’re in the western part of the state, so our dealers are coming from a 150 mile to 200 mile radius.

“They are coming from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

“It seems like at the sales, there is a shortage of really nice cars with low mileage. When you get one, it brings top dollar.

“Dealers, most of them, sound like they’re doing just fair. Nobody’s bragging.

“A majority of our cars are dealer consignment.

‘But we’ve got some (repos from) local banks and some from TitleMax and payday loan places. We’ll sell for those places.

“On a normal week – out of our 200 to 225 total (units) – we’ll get 50 or 60 that are new-car trades, maybe 30 or 40 are repo-type cars and the rest will be regular dealer consignment.

“Everybody I talk to is expecting a bigger increase in repos over the coming months than they expected they would have this time last year.

“We also try to do a
salvage sale once a month.

“The average price is in the low $4,000s.

“I really feel that if the demand for the good mileage stuff and nicer cars stays the way it is, the prices are
going to stay strong.”


Wholesale Markets - Minnesota

“In August, we will have been in business 31 years.

“We have four lanes.

“Our volumes have been right around 400 per week. It might be up a touch from this time last year, but I’d say it’s pretty comparable.

“In April, sales percentages were running about 65 to 67 percent. 

“Right now, it’s consistently 55 to 58 percent. So, all things considered, it’s not bad.

“On a week-to-week basis, about 85 percent of our volume is dealer consignment.  The rest would be from lease companies, banks, repossessions and GSA.

“On average, we’ll (draw) about 125 to 130 dealers in the lanes. 

“That’s comparable to last year. It seems like things slowed up a little bit in June, so there was a little bit more anxiety going on.

“I think that we were coming off such highs in March and April that there was a little bit of a natural letdown in May and June. Of course, car prices were also pushed higher. But I don’t see anything out of the ordinary, compared to years’ past.

“Our dealers come mostly from Minnesota, 

“But we’ll also get some from North Dakota, South Dakota, a few from Wisconsin and some from Canada. 

“But they are predominantly from Minnesota.

“We have GSA sales several times throughout the year. 

“This year we had them in May and June. We’ll have them (every month) through November. During a recent GSA sale, we had a lot of Malibus and Grand Caravans. We also get a fair amount of G6s, Ford Focuses and then a variety of trucks. We get a lot of ¾ ton trucks. We also had a lot of Uplander vans and Dodge Avengers.

“The first sale we had a 106 units and the next was 116. So I’ll day we get 110 units on average.

“On the fleet-lease side, we run cars from Westlake Financial, Union Leasing and United Auto Credit. Half of those vehicles are repos and half are regular fleet cars.

“The average price coming through the lanes is about $4,800. I’m not positive, but I think that’s up about $200 from a year ago.

“Trucks never really get soft, but if you have a really nice truck, those are doing well. If I’ve seen any softening, it’s probably in minivans.

“But if you have anything in the 40,000 to 80,000-mile range, then it’s doing well.”


Wholesale Markets - Maine


Mark Wescott, general manager, Port City Auto Auction, Richmond, Maine:

“We recently had our 30th anniversary.

“We’ve got six lanes and we’re utilizing four.

“Volumes have not been too bad. We’ve been up in the low 400s, but averaging about 375.

“Those (numbers) are a little bit better than this time last year.

“We’ve had some decent sales percentages, as high as the mid-70s. But basically we’ve been in the high 60s on average – 67 to 68 percent.

“Tax season was what I’d call a ‘honeymoon period.’ It was like a two-week (run). It was almost as if the buyers waited until that income tax money was floating around before buying. It wasn’t as though they were buying in January to have them available. They waited until the money was available, then hit the auctions and bought.

“We are mostly dealer consignment.

“We also have a few off-lease and repos from area credit unions and lending institutions. There really hasn’t been a change in those volumes. We’re hoping for an increase this year.

“We have a toy sale for recreational vehicles on the third week of every month. We’ll sell boats, campers, motorcycles, snowmobiles, lawn mowers – anything.

“We have a late-model sale (2007 and newer, under 80,000 miles) every fourth week of the month. We typically average about 80 of those units.

 “Maine got its butt kicked this winter. We didn’t cancel any sales. But we typically postpone a sale for an hour or two (after a storm). It gives guys a chance to come in.

“Dealers in Maine are used to the snow. So a lot of the guys come out of the dealerships if it snows (the day of the auction) because there’s no retail
traffic anyway.

“We had about 275 buyers in the lanes (at the May 8 sale). That’s about the same as last year. Dealers come from all over the Northeast. Last month was a good month for dealers.

“Our average price across the block is $4,400. That’s up a couple of hundred from last year.

“The low-end market has softened up a bit. But the mid-range and high-end markets are doing well.

Wholesale Markets - Colorado


Matt Read, general manager, Loveland Auto Auction, Johnstown, Colo.:

“Business has been really good. We had a huge first quarter due to tax season.

“April was good as well.

“Our run numbers were up a little bit in the first quarter. That’s started to settle down a little bit, cars are a little tougher to come by, but we’re hanging in there.

“Our auction is always growing a little bit. We
always see an increase in bidders every year and this year is no different. We get bidders from Nebraska, Wyoming, a few from New Mexico. The majority of our business is Colorado-based.

“Everybody seems to be happy. They all had a good tax season. 

“The dealers in Wyoming who are near Indiana reservations had an extra tax season because the Indians settled a lawsuit and received large checks.

“We do really well with trucks. Any truck sells well.

“The $10,000-and-under cars and SUVs are our bread and butter on that side.

“We don’t do anything online. 

“Business seems to have slowed down in the past couple of weeks. The kids are getting out of school and we always get that summer slump.

“About 90 percent of units are dealer consignment. The rest come from local banks.

“The dealers were keeping all their trades for a while. They’re not holding onto stuff like they used to. They’re starting to send more cars to auction. A majority of our consignment comes from new-car stores.

“We have a loyal group of consignors. We’re about 45 mils north of Denver.”

Wholesale Markets - Texas


Lisa Franz, manager, Big Valley Auto Auction, Donna, Texas:

“We had our five-year anniversary last September. We didn’t pick the best time to start an auction. My father is the general manager, and he said if we could make it through 2008, 2009 and 2010, we could make it through anything.

“We have four lanes and we’re running all four lanes.

“I was just running some statistics from last year and see that we’re up about 20 percent on volumes. Before tax season (fell off), we were averaging right at 500 (vehicles).

“Sales percentages have been right at 52 percent. I would say that’s a little bit higher than last year, because our sales are up a little.

“We are all dealer consignment.

“We have a little under 300 (bidders) per sale. I think that’s up 10 to 15 percent. We’re just up across the board (in all categories).

“We’re in south Texas, right on the border, between Mission and Brownsville.
So we’re pulling dealers from the Rio Grande Valley.

“We do bring some dealers in from Mexico, but Mexico really tightened up about a year after we opened. 

“I think our dealers are doing well. I know our franchise guys are just exploding. They’re building new franchise dealerships left and right.

“Some (vehicles) that
always do well this time of year are the soccer-mom-type cars, like the minivans, Toyotas and Hondas.

“Since we’re in south Texas, trucks are always (strong).

“We have online bidding through AWG. We go by how many bidders are logging on and we go by sales. Since we’re kind of new to it, we still get excited when we get online bidders. We had 27 online bidders during a recent sale. Most of our online bidders are wholesalers and exporters.

 “The funny thing we’re seeing is (a spike in sales) of 2002 Toyota Highlanders – these little four-cylinders. We’ve got buyers that are exporting them overseas. I wish I could get into business just buying Highlanders. It’s just insane – the interest in these four-cylinders.

“The only thing struggling are Chryslers.

“We are excited for the rest of the year. We’ve paved another three acres to our south and we need more room already. It’s amazing how fast we add things and we already have to (grow more).

“It’s one thing to say, ‘build it and they will come.’ But it feels really good when you build it and they actually do come.”