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Wholesale Markets Florida March 2015

Doug Rodriguez, general manager, BSC America-Tallahassee Auto Auction, Tallahassee, Fla.:

“This will be our 31st year. 

“We have been up all year. Volumes have been excellent. We’ve been running between 500 and 600
cars weekly.

“This year, sales percentages have been awesome. We’ve been at 60 to 70 percent every single week.

“I think it’s because the economy is better. I also think the auto industry itself is going to be stronger this year than it was
last year.

 “Business was a little stagnant last year because of new-car sales, but we still did well. But I think this year is going to be a growth period and not just our company, but also the surrounding area dealerships. I just think it’s going to be a good year for the auto industry.

“There are 200 to 300 bidders every week. (During a recent sale) we had 305 bidders. So we’ve been very strong and the lanes have been full.

“We draw dealers from all over the panhandle area, all the way from Jacksonville to Pensacola. But we also pull out of Dothan, Ala., and Enterprise, Ala., and southern Georgia area.

“I’m hearing positive things from the retail guys. They are all very excited and optimistic about 2015. We’ve already seen a big impact with the tax dollars. I think the electronic (filings) have allowed the market to surge a little earlier than in the past.

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to, their lots are full, they’re retailing cars. They’re pretty optimistic.

“Our fleet-lease-repo accounts are growing, we’re still about 90 percent dealer consignment. On the fleet-lease-repo side, we get cars from ARI, Element, MK leasing and we now have taken on Westlake Remarketing. We also work with SRG remarketing and other local banks and credit unions.

“I think we’re going to see growth all year long on the commercial side. There are additional lease units coming into the market this year. I expect that we’ll get our share of that. We’ll see an increase.

“Our average sale price is $5,500 to $6,500. It’s about a $1,000 up from last year.

“We do an in-op sale every week at the end of our regular sale. We’re running about 50 to 60 units
every week.

“We also hold a monthly powersports and special equipment sale on the second Friday each month.  Those numbers are starting to grow. It’s a 50- to 80-unit sale. We’ll get jet skis, trailers, motor homes, motorcycles and some boats
and quads.

“On the third Friday of every month, we run a Five Day Front Line Sale. It’s a later-model, lower-mileage unit. We’ve seen some growth in that area, as well. Those are 2004 and newer, 75,000 miles and lower, and must pass a
certified inspection.

“We’ve created a market in the panhandle that, maybe, wasn’t around before we got here and we’ve filled it.”

Wholesale Markets - Montana


Terry Scheetz, general sales manager, Auto Auction of Montana, Billings, Mont.:

“We’ve been in business for 11 years.

“We have four lanes. Most of the time, we run three, except on our anniversary (or special sales).

“We’ve been running between 500 and 600 each week. It’s about the same as this time last year. It hasn’t changed too much.

“With November done, December will probably start to slow down a little, move closer to the 500 (number).

“We’ve actually been over 50 percent most of the time. 

During the past month, we were averaging 46 percent, because it slowed down a little bit in November. (I attribute it) to the weather and cars not being as

“I‘m looking at 150 to 200 dealers in the lanes. That’s the same. But the Internet has picked up more than it used to be.

“We use Ringman. We’re getting more bidders and buyers. When we started, we only ran one lane with Ringman, but now all the lanes run it.

“We get both dealer consignment and fleet-lease. About 30 percent is fleet-lease. That hasn’t changed much. We’ve actually picked up more of the
dealer consignment.

“The oil boom has helped out. The dealers (in the oil boom areas) are so far out, we even send our truck lines out there to bring the cars back to recon them here and take them back to them. They just can’t get service done (because it’s so busy).

“October was our biggest month since we’ve been in the business, but I have no idea why.

“The entire year has been good for us.

“We’ve been running GSA sales once a month. We’ll run about 30 to 40 units. We get trucks, buses, school buses and sport utility vehicles from the government. They sell them all. When you get GSA, you pretty much can bank it.

“The average price
is $11,770.

“That’s comparable to last year, which was $12,403.

“The older fleet-lease stuff, honestly, struggles a bit, compared to the dealer consignment.

“If the rest of the year continues like it has, it will be a great (finish).”


Wholesale Markets - Arkansas

Shane Wood, general manager, 71B Auto Auction, Springdale, Ark.:

“We just celebrated our four-year anniversary.

“We have five lanes and we’re running five.

“Our volumes are right around 1,000 a week. We’re up probably 300 cars from last year. I attribute that to customer service. We started this business as a hobby. I used to be a wholesaler and bought cars from Brian Hunt, son of J.B. Hunt (of the trucking company). This all started over lunch one day. He had some property that was unused and had a building and two trailer houses on it. We thought we would get 100 cars a week. But it’s grown into this. It’s grown from a hobby
into this.

“Since February, we’ve spent $10 million on renovations. We added two lanes and a state-of-the-art restaurant and new offices. We also purchased another seven acres and black-
topped it.

“Sales percentages are 50 to 60 percent. We’re strictly dealer consignment. We haven’t broken into the fleet-lease market yet.

“We do very few repos.

“About 75 percent of what we run is new-car trades. The remainder would be wholesalers.

“Our big market is the $4,000 to $10,000 range stuff. America’s Car Mart’s corporate office is just a couple of miles down the street. They buy strong here. “As we move into (the buy-here, pay-here buying season) in the next few weeks, we’ll be bumping into the 65- to 70- percent sales range
through April.,

“We’ll usually print 350 to 400 bidder badges. That’s a lot better than last year. We’re draw dealers from all over. We recently spent 17,000 on mailers that we sent to every dealer in several states. We draw dealers from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi.

“In this market, the 2008 Chevy Impala is not selling, but the 2008 Z71 short-wide truck with (great) wheels and tires – a stud truck – is still selling.

“What I mean is, guys are not buying cars to stock their lot, they are buying cars they need.

“The average price coming through the lanes is $6,500. Last year, I think it was about $5,200. We’re just getting more later-model stuff.

“But the economy here is really good. There’s all kinds of business going on.”

Wholesale Markets - South Bend

Bob Ruth, general manager, Wolfe’s South Bend Auto Auction, South Bend, Ind.:

“The auction will be 12 years old in March.

“We have four lanes, but we usually run two or three lanes.

“Volumes are at 250 to 300 consistently.

“We’re having a better year this year than last. I think that’s dealer-driven. I think dealers are busier and that in turn helps us. The mom-and-pop stores are doing better this time of the year. 

“The other thing is we’re getting near tax time when the dealers load up.

“Sales percentages are steady. There are times where guys are standing in the lane with their hands in their pockets and you’re lucky to do 50 percent. Then there are other times where you’re selling 65 to 70 percent. Overall, though, I think we’re doing about 55 percent.

“Dealers are being much more specific (in their buying).

“Dealers will come from right across the street or from 250 miles away. Remember, (in the Wolfe family of auctions) we have a facility here, one in Terra Haute, Ind., and one in Evansville, Ind. So we have the ability to cover the
entire state. 

“But with fewer cars available, a dealer will travel a little farther (and utilize) the Internet. We’ll alert dealers, by emailing lists and faxing lists, to tell a dealer (what we have available).

“A dealer will call back to check if that vehicle is available and learn about its general condition and we’ll check it out. Being an independent, you have to do these little things.

“I think a lot more things are happening electronically in the business that makes it a lot more difficult on the dealership side. So we’re doing more electronically. 

“Both our lanes are live on AWG. That’s a big tool for us, especially in inclement weather.

“Dealer consignment is every bit of 80 percent of what we offer. We have some fleet-lease repossession. We also do repo business with a lot of credit unions, banks and finance companies.

“Guys like to buy repos. If you put two cars side by side, and one is ‘ABC Bank’ and one is ‘ABC Dealer,’ the bank car would still do better as a repo.

“If a (seller) has five or more cars to sell, we’ll transport them for free, just to get them to the sale.

“The average price (on the block) is between $2,500 and $3,500.”


Wholesale Markets - KCI

Doug Doll, owner/general manager, KCI Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.:

“We opened up in 1978 in Elwood, Kan., as P & S Auto Auction. We’ve been in Kansas City since July 2008. 

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

“Our volumes are up probably 25 percent over last year. 

“We’re running between 800 and 1,000 cars per week right now.

“Our fleet business is up. We’ve added larger accounts. Plus our dealer business is up, too.

“Our fleet business is up 50 cars a week sold over last year.  Our dealer business is up 10 cars a week sold from last year.

“For the year, we’re running about 61 percent (sold). That’s about the same as last year.

“From January through July we were running 66 percent. We’ve dipped a little bit since then.

“In the lanes, we’re averaging between 500 and 600 bidders. That’s about the same as this time last year.

“We get a lot of dealers from the Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., areas, along with Wichita, Kan. We also draw from Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., as well as Des Moines, Iowa. We get Hispanic buyers from the El Paso, Texas, area.

“Our online sales are probably up 25 percent in our online sales.

“I believe the reason that’s up is that we started a condition report program in August of last year. We started doing full CRs on every car to hit the auction lanes. Now, we don’t do a mechanical CR, but a physical CR. We do a detailed CR from tire depth to dings, dents and scratches. Pictures are taken. By doing that, our online sales have jumped tremendously. That’s expanded the (bidding) area. Dealers from the East Coast and West Coast, for example, are buying a lot of dealer cars online. We weren’t getting that last year at all.

“We’re 60/40, between new-car trades and fleet/lease/repo.

“We also have a Kia sale and a Toyota Financial Services sale. The Kia factory sale is the third Thursday of the month. Our Toyota Financial sale is scheduled (at different times). We have our next one scheduled at our anniversary sale on Nov. 13.

“We’re slowly seeing lease volumes come back. What I’m hearing is that there’s such a shortage of cars that the franchise dealers are buying them up before they come to auction.

“Our average price coming through the lanes is $7,800. That’s up quite a bit from last year.

“The last Thursday of the month is our heavy equipment sale. We do boom trucks, bucket trucks, etc., from local municipalities. Typically, we run about 40 to 50 (units).

“GSA has run four times this year and we’ll run those sales when they have the volume.”