Used Car NewsUsed Car News

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Wholesale Markets - New York

Julie A. Quinn, general manager, Rochester’s Central Auto Auction, Rochester, N.Y.: 

“Sales are going very well.

“The beginning of July, with the holiday, was a little slow, but we always have more than 400 cars and we sell half of them.

“We have the ability to run six lanes, but we run five. 

“We have a pretty good relationship with our dealers. They are telling us they are selling a lot of cars.

“The economy in the Rochester area is pretty steady. We just had a CarMax open here.

“We keep seeing dealers expanding, so business must be pretty good. Vision (a large local group) has put in a couple of new franchises. Seeing the market grow is always a good thing for us.

“A majority of our units are dealer trades. We have a couple of dealers who come in and out. They might try running their own sales. But they always come back.

“There is fluctuation. Some dealers come every week with 100 cars and others come and go.

“Repos have been a little slower.

“We get dealers from Buffalo to Syracuse to Pennsylvania. We even have a couple of bidders who come from Texas. They have been coming for 15 years. 

“We have seen an increase in dealers from the
Syracuse area.

 “There is a lot of demand for Toyotas and Hondas.

“It’s hard to say how the rest of the summer will go.  There are so many factors. 

“Our customers are very loyal. There’s always a core group that comes. 

“Even if attendance drops, the sales don’t. The ones who come are the ones
who buy.

“We’re very small and customer friendly. We offer competitive fees. That’s an advantage of being small.”

Wholesale Markets - Illinois

Larry Hero, general manager, America’s Auto Auction-Chicago, Crestwood, Ill.:

“The auction has been located here for 13 years. America’s Auto Auction has owned it (for almost)
five years.,

“We have six lanes.

“We’re (running) approximately 800 to 1,000 units per week. It’s about the same as our prior year.

“Our sales percentage was doing well up until the beginning of June. We were in the mid-50s to low 60s. June dropped off a little bit. It’s one of our
slower months.

“The number of dealers in the (physical) lanes is between 450 to 575.

“Retail has been a little quiet in (mid-June). We noticed that the dealer that used to buy four or five at a time is now buying two
or three.

“It is a little slower than usual, but the big factor in our market has been the weather. We haven’t had a spring or a summer yet, not a consistent amount of
nice weather. 

“We have had a lot of rain and storms for June. It hasn’t really gotten very warm. So it has kind of hindered the retail buyer from coming out to
the dealerships.

“We’re basically a 60-40 sale: 60 percent of our vehicles are fleet and repos and 40 percent are our new-car dealer trades business. We used to be more of a 70-30 sale but we’re trying to get to a 50-50 sale (fleet to dealer trades). Dealer consignment is a business America’s Auto Auction Group really believes in and we do, too.

“We’ve transformed our auction to be more of a dealer auction and that’s worked out well for us. We love fleet business and we love the repo business, but it’s good to have a good mix. 

“We have some very loyal customers in the fleet business and repossession business. We have Santander as one of our major (consignors). We have BB&T Regional, GE Remarketing
and ARI.

“Our average price is approximately $5,200 on the consignment (side). Our fleet’s a little higher. Fleet is in the mid-$6,000s. 

“The price hasn’t really changed from last year.

“We use AWG for online (selling). We also use Auction Pipeline.

“We do an in-op sale every week before our normal sale. We run about 30 to
35 units.

“We also have a monthly recreational sale, which is a boat and RV sale. We kick that off at noon on the second Wednesday of
the month.

“The (online) buying habits in the fleet lanes have been great. 

“The lower-end cars have really struggled in recent sales. A lot of dealers have been looking for that retail-ready unit that they can process in 24 hours and get it on their front lines.”

Wholesale Prices Lower in May

Wholesale prices continued to moderate in May, but there remains no signs of a collapse.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index slid to a reading of 123.8 in May, down from 124.2 in April.

This is the fifth consecutive monthly slide. However, the Index is down only 0.7 percent from May 2014 and about even with the December 2014 reading.

 The Index is only 3.1 percent lower than the peak reached in May 2011, a peak reached due to the earthquake in Japan and the resulting disruption of the automotive supply chain.

The Manheim Index adjusts wholesale prices for mix, mileage and seasonality. Tom Kontos, ADESA's  executive vice president of industry analysis, adjusts prices in a different way, so he reported a steeper monthly decline.

ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of Wholesale Used Vehicle Prices by Vehicle Model Class, prices in May averaged $10,440 ­-  down 2.5 percent compared to April.

 However, Kontos also reported a higher annual increase, with prices up 1.1 percent relative to May 2014.

Kontos said supply played a larger role than usual in prices this past month.

Full-size vans, along with compact and full-size SUVs, had month-over-month increases in average prices.

This reflects retail reports from The company's vehicle listing data shows that Chevrolet Express prices gained about 2 percent in May with two versions of the full-size van took the top two spots on a list price increases.

Many industry watchers continue watch for signs that this slide will turn into a freefall.  That all depends on how the overall economy performs, said Manheim economist Tom Webb.

"The current Manheim Index reading is also close to its historic trend line, whether that line is based on raw data or adjusted for changes in new vehicle prices," Webb said. "With wholesale supplies certain to grow (indeed, accelerate), a movement below trend should be anticipated. The degree of deviation will be dependent on the ability of basic economic forces – labor market and credit conditions – to continue to support retail used unit volumes and profits."

At the recent National Automotive Finance Association conference, Webb said a real collapse requires another recession.

Wholesale Markets Pennsylvania 2015

Louis Craig, general manager, America’s Auto Auction – Pittsburgh, Washington, Pa.:

“We’ve been in business since the late 1970s. We’ve been with America’s Auto Auction since 2008. 

“We have six lanes and we’re currently running five. We’ve noticed a steady increase in volumes over the last month or two. It’s been up about 30 units a week.

“In one recent sale we ran 855 cars.

“From this time last year, demand is up but volumes are down. I would say prices of cheaper income-tax cars are suffering at our sale. As far as nicer cars, prices
are up.

“Our conversion rates are in the high 60s, but that’s where we usually are. They may be done a percentage (point) or two, but that’s all.

“The average price across the block for the year is about $4,500. It’s roughly the same as last year.

“About 95 percent of our volume is dealer consignment. That’s the same as last year.

“(Non-dealer cars) are mostly repossessions. They come from banks and title lenders – places like that.

“We do an in-op sale (that also runs online). We sell anywhere from 30 to 50 (per sale).  We run those online, but most of the guys will still show up in-lane to buy them.

“We also have a U.S. Marshal sale. It’s typically one every two months. We maybe sold 40 units in total last year. (Recently) we sold a 2011 BMW 750 li.

“We have weekly specialty sales. We’ll have a truck sale or a toy sale or convertible sale. We just try to do something differently every week. We’ll run those before the regular sale. 

“In honor of our seventh anniversary with America’s Auto Auction, we’re doing a special promotion for our buyers in June. We’ve noticed the lower-priced cars are vulnerable now. So if anyone buys five cars in any week of June, the buy fee on the fifth car will be $7.

“We’ve also built a new reconditioning facility that we just opened last month. It’s state-of-the-art.   We’ll do details, upholstery work. We’re not getting into any paintwork yet, however.

“I think it’s a great year so far. We anticipate volumes to be up with all the off-lease stuff (coming out). We’re anticipating more business. The biggest change this year is that the spring market was soft and I can’t account for that.


Wholesale Markets Kansas


Bill Watkins, controller, Sunflower Auto Auction, Topeka, Kan.:

“We had a pretty good spring. The dealers are

“Sales have definitely slowed down in the last few weeks now that tax season is over. It wasn’t as good as it was last year, either. 

“We had a little downswing this year.

“I just don’t think there’s as much money out there during tax season.

“It mostly affected volume. It didn’t affect what the dealers were buying.

“There were a few weeks that were fast and furious, but it wasn’t as long or as big as usual.

“We average around $3,500 for our vehicles.

“We run two lanes.

“We get our cars from new-car dealers for the most part. They’ve been
doing OK.

“The used-car dealers have seen their business slow down some.

“No one car or truck is especially strong now. Dealers are looking for vehicles with low miles at a low price.

“We handle some repos for buy-here, pay-here

“We’re an hour from Kansas City. We get a lot of our dealers from the rural area around Topeka. 

“We get a few dealers from Nebraska and we’re getting a few more from Wichita.

“Our online sales have picked up quite a bit.

“We sell on OVE, SmartAuction and ADESA LiveBlock.

“We list higher-end vehicles from the dealers’
lots online. 

“We don’t have the vehicles physically at the auction.  It only comes here if they sell it.

“We think that’s the way the business is going. That’s absolutely good for a two-lane auction like us.

“Usually the end of May isn’t very good, but after that we expect it to be