Used Car NewsUsed Car News

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 - 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.”


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iaai4Insurance Auto Auctions released its newest industry research, the Annual Salvage Report .
In this report, IAA analyzes and interprets major industry trends and the responses to the dynamic economic environment.
Among the report’s findings is that crushed-car prices are poised to improve this year after steel manufacturers made strides to eliminate excess supply.

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