The Internet has proven to be a tremendous resource for the automotive industry for everything from selling cars to finding new inventory. In today’s wholesale market, it is easier than ever for both independent and franchise dealers across North America to access the vehicles they need through online auctions, but the service doesn’t end there.
For the premier online auto auction sites, the variety of inventory available on the Internet is only one of the many benefits. Today, online auctions function as a one-stop shop for purchasing quality used vehicles, as well as providing end-to-end services that can get the car to your dealership with less overall risk and cost.
Any dealership, whether independent or franchise, often needs specific vehicles to help round out the lot. Driving or flying to a physical auction with the hope of finding those vehicles is getting riskier, given increasing travel costs. With gas prices in the U.S. closing in on five dollars a gallon and the economy slumping, it may not be worth the time and money you need to invest in traveling to an auction, only to find what you need isn’t available. Online auctions are the smartest, most fuel-efficient, and most economical option to help you get what you need to cater to your customer base and keep your inventory fresh.
Vehicle choices abound online.
Accessibility and variety is the name of the game when it comes to online auctions. Now that the demand for online auctions from dealers is increasing, automotive consignors are offering more and more vehicles online; every make, model, and year can now be found online. Leading automobile manufacturers, captive finance companies, fleet agencies, and rental car companies, as well as other dealers are all looking to online auctions as an additional outlet for selling their wholesale inventory. In fact, it’s often the first place they choose to sell their inventory because of the compelling economics, which means fresher vehicles and more selection than any other auction source, all in one place.
Dealers can easily access a whole range of vehicles from consumer off-lease units to recent-model, low-mileage rental vehicles, and older, higher mileage fleet units. The ability to purchase vehicles in high volume online is also a significant advantage for large dealerships. From fleet buyers to small independent dealers, the breadth of selection means there is a variety of vehicles suited to your buying behavior. Whether you’re looking for a 1995 Ferrari Testarossa or a 2006 Honda Civic, chances are you’ll find it online. Because online auctions have gained widespread adoption and more sellers and manufacturers are represented online, there is a constant flow of vehicles, so it’s important to use the different tools that are available with online auctions. For example, dealers can easily set up saved searches to automatically email you when the vehicles you specify are available for sale.
Five dollars a gallon…is it possible?
There is no question that rising gas prices are having a significant effect on the auto industry. By avoiding the daily, weekly, or monthly trips to the physical auctions, the money that you would have spent on costly travel and gas can be put to better use.
Online auctions can also bring dealers from across the country together to sell to each other, as well as erase any geographical obstacles that may have previously stood in the way. There are often market specific opportunities for dealers to either buy or sell to other dealers that can be advantageous to both. Also, for dealers who are located in rural areas, hours away from the closest physical auction, the Internet enables them to level the playing field within the used auto market.
Some online auctions also offer dealer-to-dealer programs that enable dealers to create their own networks and communities by selling to each other. If you are trying to sell a vehicle and you are just not finding the demand in your area, listing the vehicle online provides you with a nationwide audience and increases your chances for a sale.
I see the car I want, now what?
Once you’ve found the car you want online, the next step is to go from seeing it on your screen to getting it to your lot. With the availability of comprehensive third-party vehicle condition reports and high-resolution photos, online auctions provide a buyer with everything they need to make informed purchasing decisions. In addition, services needed to purchase the car—such as floor plan, transportation, as well as fair arbitration and transaction policies are at the dealer’s disposal for a seamless transaction process from beginning to end.
In addition, the flooring options available through online auctions provide a great amount of flexibility and purchasing power. The best online auction sites now offer complete floor plan options from a range of the industry’s best automotive finance providers. In addition, there are many different incentives available for online purchases, such as lower interest rates, delayed payment plans, and longer terms for accessing payment.
The vehicle variety online is unparalleled and certainly one that cannot be matched by any single physical auction. With the wide variety of cars available, as well as the numerous service options for getting the car to your doorstep, there are no limits to the benefits online auctions can bring to your dealership.
Clive Kinross is president of OPENLANE and is responsible for all of the company’s sales, marketing, logistics, and customer management activities.0