America's Auto Auction Purchases Harrisburg AA


It was announced by company president Ben Lange on Monday that America’s Auto Auction has acquired Harrisburg Auto Auction, a move that brings its auction count up to 11.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Harrisburg Auto Auction and its team led by industry veteran Lynn Weaver, to the America’s family of auto auctions,” Lange said.

Harrisburg AA, located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., adds to America’s Auto Auction’s existing locations in Atlanta; Chicago; Jacksonville, Fla; Pensacola, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Pittsburgh; Greenville, S.C.; Dallas; North Houston, Texas; and Austin/San Antonio, Texas.

Stan Hoynitski founded Harrisburg AA in 1982, and the Hoynitski family has owned it ever since.

 “Lynn Weaver and his team will fit perfectly with our company culture.  By the same token, I know that auction leaders in our group will also benefit from his vision and many years of experience in the industry,” said Richard Gundy, chief executive officer of America’s Auto Auction.

“Going forward under the America’s Auto Auction flag, Lynn and his team will continue to provide the same level of excellent service to both dealer and institutional accounts, which is what has made Harrisburg such a strong auction over the years,” he continued.

November Wholesale Prices Make ‘Sizable Gain’


The upturn in wholesale vehicle prices “showed a more sizable gain” in November, according to the latest update of the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.

After ticking up in October, Manheim determined the movement of wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage- and seasonally adjusted basis) pushed the November index reading to 123.3, which represented an increase of 0.7 percent from a year ago.

“Wholesale price movements since April suggest that, if there was a price misalignment between new and used vehicles, it was modest at best,” Manheim chief economist Tom Webb said.

“The five-month decline in pricing lowered wholesale values by less than 3 percent, and the subsequent two-month rise has brought prices within 1.3 percent of their April high,” Webb continued.

“Recent wholesale pricing also suggests that the low- to mid-16 million new-vehicle SAAR in September and October did not create the level, or age/model/condition mix, of trade-ins and lease turn-ins that dealers needed for today’s robust used-vehicle market. The dealer’s mood in November was one of active acquisition at auction,” he went on to say.

Four of the six vehicle segments Manheim tracks for its index report moved higher in November. On a year-over-year comparison, prices for pickups led the charge higher by rising 6.2 percent, followed by vans (up 2.1 percent), luxury cars (up 1.4 percent) as well as CUVs and SUVs (up 1.4 percent).

In particular, that luxury-car price metric caught Webb’s attention.

“Luxury vehicles continued to outperform the overall market in November; but due to weakness earlier in the year, they still have a lot ground to make up,” Webb said.

“Maintaining luxury car residuals in the months ahead will be important due to the current, and upcoming, seasonal rise in lease returns in this segment,” he continued. “Pricing in the compact car market remained competitive in both the new- and used-vehicle markets.”

Keeping the overall price reading from going higher was the softening of the remaining two segments as midsize car prices dipped by 0.9 percent while compact car prices dropped by 2.5 percent.

Reviewing the wholesale market as whole, Webb said, “Our analysis of changes in mileage by price tier suggests that vehicles in the $8,000- to $10,000-price range are showing the weakest demand, whereas vehicles in the $13,000- to $15,000-range are enjoying the strongest relative pricing.

“Dealer-consigned units at auction had a 1-percent increase in average selling price despite a 2-percent rise in average mileage,” he added.

Rental-Risk Vehicle Update

Manheim indicated the average mileage on rental-risk units moving down the lanes in November crossed the 45,000-mile threshold for the first time ever.

Along with that development, Webb shared his assessment of the rental-risk market by stating it enjoyed a “bounce-back” in pricing.

Manheim determined average auction prices for rental risk units (both adjusted and unadjusted for mileage and mix shifts) moved up in November relative to October, but were still down year-over-year.

“In hindsight, we can now see that October’s sharp downward movement was exaggerated by heavy volumes and a greater share of below-average condition vehicles,” Webb said.

“November’s auction volume of rental risk units was up significantly from a year ago,” he continued. “But due to the normal large seasonal reduction, November was still the lowest-volume month of the year.”

November Sales Recap

Beginning on the used side, Webb recapped CNW Research data that showed used-vehicle retail sales by dealers ticked up by less than 1 percent in November, after declining in October.

Although year-to-date used-vehicle sales by dealers are down 1.1 percent, Webb emphasized that all indications show profits are being generated at record levels.

“Growing lease turn-ins, as well as newer trade-ins, have significantly raised the average used-vehicle selling price at franchised dealers,” Webb said.

“Relatedly, another strong month of CPO sales in November pushed the year-to-date tally to 2.14 million, an increase of 10.2 percent from the year-ago period,” he added.

On the new-vehicle side, Webb pointed out that new cars and light duty trucks sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.1 million in November.

“That pace might have been artificially boosted by the selling day adjustment and higher fleet sales, but still it was a solid report,” Webb said.

The average new-vehicle transaction price rose to $33,754 in November, up 1.7 percent from a year ago, according to Kelley Blue Book.

“Maintaining that pricing strength over the course of the coming year may prove challenging,” Webb said. “Clearly, the expected plateauing in new-vehicle sales, the significant weakening of the yen, and the large amount of dry powder that manufacturers have to raise incentives could lead to aggressive pricing next year.

“And don’t forget the usual year-end step-up in promotions that will occur this month,” he added.

Pa. Hosts Year's Final Sale; CADE Partners For Charity


The announced this week that it will be hosting the final state vehicle auction of the year on Tuesday. The auction, which will feature nearly 500 vehicles for public bidding at the Manheim Central Penn Auto Auction, was featuring a preview period through Monday.

“We are closing out the year with a wide variety of vehicles for interested buyers,” said Sheri Phillips, the state’s general services secretary. “As always, we look to offer quality vehicles at a fair price. And with the holidays approaching, this auction is a great opportunity to find a really nice gift for someone special.”

Featured vehicles will include those seized by local law enforcement as well as trucks, SUVs, sedans, motorcycles and other types of vehicles used by state agencies. The vehicle preview will occur daily from 9 a.m. (EST) to 4 p.m.  at Manheim Central Penn Auto Auction. The auction itself will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and closing at noon.

In other Pennsylvania auction news, the owners of the donated $14,500 to its local Park United Methodist Church to help make a Thanksgiving wish become a reality. The donation helped provide more than 50,000 meals via the international charity .

“We set a goal we knew exceeded our budget,” said Rick King, the church’s mission chair. “Corry Auto Dealers Exchange wrote a check to sponsor this event for us. It was a fantastic blessing for the congregation of Park Church and the community of North East.”

Tad Swift, the auction manager at CADE, believed the gesture was the simply the right thing to do.

“As a local business, we feel it is important to give back,” Swift said. “Hunger is rampant. Being part of this effort made a difference to our local church and, more importantly, to people thousands of miles away. This was a great opportunity to express our gratitude in a truly meaningful way.”

XLerate Group Appoints Dudash Senior Sales VP


XLerate Group, which was formerly known as American Auto Auction Group until revealing its rebranding last month, announced Monday that it has brought on Pat Dudash as senior vice president of sales.

Dudash has held senior sales or remarketing executive positions with Insurance Auto Auctions, ADESA, JM Family and Alamo Rent A Car.

Cam Hitchcock, XLerate’s chief executive officer, shared his thoughts on the appointment.

“Pat Dudash has 25 years’ experience in the automotive retail, wholesale, remarketing, services and rental car segments. He is an accomplished sales and marketing professional, and has built high performance sales teams in previous positions,” said Hitchcock.

“We are very excited to have Pat join our team.  He will be working closely with our auction-based dealer and fleet-lease sales teams. Pat also brings unique insight to XLerate on the impact of technology for both our physical and upstream remarketing channels,” Hitchcock continued.

Dudash added:  “I look forward to working with the senior team to grow XLerate. The XLerate auctions are widely recognized for superior customer service, which is an excellent foundation for continued growth.

“I’m confident that my prior experience as both a dealer and institutional consignor has positioned me to help shape XLerate’s strategy and contribute significantly to XLerate’s development,” he added.

Brasher’s Anniversary Sales; Flint Funds Cancer Research

SACRAMENTO, Calif. & FLINT, Mich. - 

It’s been a busy time for the Brasher’s family of auctions, who have had seven different auction locations throughout the West celebrating anniversaries recently, following alongside the group’s 65th birthday this year. The final celebration, held at the end of October, was at Brasher’s Sacramento Auto Auction.

Featuring a party sale with nearly 1,000 bidders, the Sacramento, Calif. location funneled more than 2,800 vehicles through its lanes, with featured consignors from Ford, Ford Credit, Wells Fargo, Lobel Financial, Santander Consumer USA, Chrysler Capital, Wheels, Enterprise and Hertz, along with new and used deals from throughout the region.

The event was host to several incentives, including free barbecue lunch in the lanes and prize drawings at the end of the day, including 49ers football tickets, barbecue grills and smokers, outdoor furniture and a full outdoor barbecue kitchen.

“What a wonderful industry we’ve been a part of all these years,” said John Brasher, third-generation Brasher family business member. “We’re proud of the legacy established by our grandparents, Frank and Esther Brasher, and are excited to see that members of the fourth generation of our family are now joining us at the auction.”

Community Outreach at Flint

Just north of the Motor City, Flint Auto Auction continues its heritage of community outreach with its support of the American Cancer Society. Decked out in Flint Auto Auction swag, 30 auction employees laced up their athletic shoes hit the pavement at the 2014 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk held in Flint, Mich. in mid-October.

Wearing hoodies, scarves, baseball caps and beanies fused with Flint and breast cancer awareness insignia, the employees participated in the walk with a total donation of $2,000 to the American Cancer Society. Auction owners Bill Williams and John Luce contributed to the donation by matching funds raised by the employees.

Manheim Presents ‘Dashing Through The Lanes’


Manheim is getting the ball rolling early with the holiday festivities via its "Dashing Through The Lanes" campaign, which began Monday.

Taking place through Dec. 22, employees and customers at all 78 of Manheim’s North American operating locations will have the chance to donate to that auction’s charity of choice and sign a card to be hung on the wall. The event will also feature special promotions, daily giveaways and auction events to help dealers fill their lots for next year.

“We value our customers and wanted to express our thanks through this campaign for their support throughout the year,” said Stephen Smith, Manheim North America’s senior director of customer marketing. “These donations will make a difference to the many charities that rely on corporate and individual donations to support their valuable programs.”

The campaign will also feature a wreath contest for auction employees, using tires to create holiday-themed wreaths out of more than 100 tires that already needed to be recycled. Interested parties can view the wreaths on Instagram via the #manheimmoments hashtag.

“This campaign salutes our customers who continue to make their business a priority during the busy holiday season,” Smith said.

Dealers can .

ServNet's Fall Owners Meeting & Expanded Sales for Sparkling City

Waverly, N.Y. & San Antonio, Texas - 

The owners of the 31 ServNet Auctions locations met up at the end of October in Waverly, N.Y. for the Fall Owners’ Meeting. The event, which took place Oct. 23 through Oct. 25, was hosted by the Barber family at State Line Auto Auction. The family, as part of the founding members of the auction group, is moving into its third generation of ownership and management.

“This year’s meeting was outstanding,” said ServNet president Patty Stanley, who owns Carolina Auto Auction with her husband Henry. She and Henry also own Indiana Auto Auction with their son Eric Autenrieth. 

“We decided to start a new tradition for the fall meeting that includes visiting a ServNet auction facility. It is refreshing to get back to our roots in seeing how other high performing businesses operate in our industry,” Stanley said. 

The meeting took aim at several tasks, the first to endorse the membership of Winchester Auto Auction, the newest ServNet location. A significant focus was made on discussing multi-platform selling, along with other strategies. The success of two new programs that began in 2014 was also reviewed, including ServNet’s 20 Group and ServNet’s Fleet/Lease Manager Conference.

“Programs such as these bring tremendous value to our member auctions,” Stanley said, “as they allow us to share best practices and discuss both common challenges and successes.”

Several other topics were covered, including the succession plans for ServNet’s leadership team.

News from Sparkling City 

Nearly 2,000 miles away, in San Antonio, Texas, the Sparkling City Auto Auction announced a couple of expansions to its sales plans, including the opening of a sixth lane and a second sale day.

“Needing more room to grow is an exciting opportunity for us at Sparking City Auto Auction of San Antonio,” said Wade Walker, the auction’s owner. “We started out with four auction lanes and added a fifth lane just last year. Now four years in operation, we’re adding our sixth lane and have added a second sale day on alternate Thursdays to keep up with rising demand and to best serve our customers.”

The auction’s sixth lane opened for the first time on Nov. 11, while the auction hosted its first Thursday afternoon sale the week before.

“Our new Thursday afternoon sale starts at 4 p.m. and features fresh consignment, giving our customers a second opportunity during the week to purchase the best inventory available in the San Antonio market,” Walker said. “We’ll be holding this Thursday afternoon sale every other week through the end of the year, and then expect to hold it weekly in January.”

Are Your Mobile Apps Making You Money?


Black Book released the results of its Mobile Usability survey, which takes a deeper look into how industry professionals use mobile technology in their day-to-day business.

AuSM previously spoke with Mike Williams, the vice president of mobile and direct sales at Black Book, to get a forward glance at the study’s results. The majority of the more than 1,000 dealers, remarketers and other such professionals surveyed revealed that they feel more profitable using mobile technology (64 percent of those surveyed) and said the apps they rely on make vehicle valuation quicker (77 percent of those surveyed).

“While mobile technology today offers a wealth of features and benefits to industry professionals, it has to show that we can make profitable decisions faster,” Williams said in Black Book’s release. “And the speed at which mobile apps like Black Book Digital perform, can eliminate critical seconds when accessing valuations, vehicle scans and history reports.”

Here’s a breakdown of the , according to Black Book:

How much more profitable do you think you are using a mobile app?

  • Equally profitable (31 percent)
  • More than 10 percent (30 percent)
  • 1-5 percent (19 percent)
  • 6-10 percent (15 percent)
  • Less profitable (3 percent)

How much faster can you value a vehicle using a mobile app?

  • 20 or more seconds faster (53 percent)
  • 10-19 seconds faster (15 percent)
  • Equally fast (14 percent)
  • 5-9 seconds faster (9 percent)
  • Not faster (6 percent)

Which area does mobile help you most?

  • When buying at auction (56 percent)
  • When appraising a trade-in (39 percent)
  • When selling retail (2 percent)
  • When selling at auction (0 percent)
  • I don’t use a mobile app (0 percent)

What features do you use the most on your mobile app? (Choose as many as apply)

  • Valuation and appraisal research (30.9 percent)
  • VIN Scan (30.7 percent)
  • Vehicle history reports (15.0 percent)
  • Market Report (7.3 percent)
  • Other (7.2 percent)
  • Q-list/Wish list (5.4 percent)
  • Determine demand for vehicles selling in specific regions (3.4 percent)
  • Sharing vehicle information with colleagues, other dealers or retail customers (0.0 percent)

Reader back for our previous story on this topic shed light on the opinion that some new technologies may be making people in the industry a bit lazier. And, according to our previous interview with Williams, that is a suggestion that’s not too far from the truth.

“At this point you can sit down in front of a computer, you can be in four different auctions, you can be looking at two or three different dealer networks, all at the same time,” Williams said. “You can be pulling the trade-in value and see what they’re going for on all these networks. I don’t want to say anything provocative, but you’re now in a better position not to go anywhere than you ever have been.”

This lead to a question about the importance of the physical auction setting, where many in the industry swear by the relationships they’ve grown and fostered in person while bidding. Williams believes that side of the auction system will always have a place.

“The reality is there’s always going to be a core group of guys,” Williams said. “And I think every dealer enjoys a good auction. It really is a carnival, it’s a fun atmosphere; there’s a lot going on. I think that while they’ve slowed down their number of visits per year, the reality is they’re always going to go there. They’re always going to visit their IADA convention and things like that. And they’re going to have opportunities to intermingle with other dealers.

“I don’t think, in the end, we’re ever going to see the end of the auctions,” Williams continued. “But I think we’ve already seen one evolution of them, which is now most guys at the auction, if they’re not on the mobile themselves, they have a second spotter out on the lot who’s checking the information. They’re communicating back to the dealership. We’re already getting this hybrid where they’re not just online and they’re not just in the lane. There are a lot of guys who will bid on 4 or 5 different sales at the same time from home base while they’ll have guys out there on the lot checking the vehicles.”

What do you think? Do you prefer to go to the auction in person or do you find more value in bidding remotely? Or a mix of both? Let us know in the comments or tweet us . 

4 Enhancements to Manheim's Online Tools


Earlier this week, Manheim announced upgrades to the search and sales functions of its online sales platforms: and

Prior to this news, AuSM caught up with Jenifer Eggert — Manheim vice president of digital services — at Used Car Week to talk about these changes within the company’s online offerings.

“The whole goal is to take customer back — and we have a lot of extensive research on both the buyer and seller side — and to connect them and help them transact quicker, essentially,” Eggert told us.

With the search and sales function upgrades, there are four main enhancements that were made to Manheim’s online portals.

The first two changes deal with initial search results on the online platforms. In what began on Oct. 10, the initial search results will only show vehicles with condition reports, seller disclosures and those priced less than 120 percent of the Manheim Market Report value.

(Manheim has found that buyers gravitate towards vehicles priced closer to MMR, and also appreciate having CRs and images online to help in making buying decisions).

“And it is a filtered check, so if buyers wanted to see cars without CRs, for example, they could just uncheck the filter and see them,” Eggert said. “So, we’re not blocking the entire inventory from them; they have the option of finding the rest of the vehicles if they would like to. But we just wanted to present that first look with the best inventory we could possibly give to them.”

The next change, she said, is to combine facilitation and success fees in a simple, easily visible buy or sell fee.

“In the past, it was somewhat confusing, including multiple fees on the listing itself. Now it’s a buy fee or a sell fee. We condensed it so it’s just one fee to look at,” she added.

The final change was a requirement for sellers.  As explained in Manheim’s statement on the upgrades, the floor price can be hit within three bids submittals via

“Essentially, we’re requiring starting bids on vehicles to be within three-bid increments from floor,” she said.   

Now, here’s what may bring some relief to sellers, who fear their floor prices are being given away: there are a variety of different increments the seller can set, starting at $50.

“So it’s not showing the true floor price in any way, shape or form,” Eggert said.

As Manheim explains in its announcement, dealers have said that the sales process is often longer when the starting bid is greatly lower than the floor price.

So, say the starting bid is more than the three bid increments from the floor price. If that is the case, the starting bid will then be raised to that minimum level of three bid increments below the floor.

Overall, the back Manheim has received on its online offerings has been extensive; but Eggert explained why the company started with these four enhancements.

“They’ve given a lot of back,” she said of Manheim customers. “We just had to start somewhere, and we felt that these four things would make the most impact the quickest.”


KAR CEO Hallett Earns EY Entrepreneurial Award

CARMEL, Ind. - 

Ernst & Young LLP announced this week the recipients of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Amongst them is Jim Hallett, the chief executive officer and director of KAR Auction Services Inc., who earned the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 National Services Award.

According to Ernst & Young, the award is a “leading business award for entrepreneurs which encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.”

Hallett was recognized for “transforming a traditional auction company that uses technology into a technology company that runs auctions, while nearly tripling its market cap,” according to the company’s release.

“KAR Auction Services flourished pre-IPO as ADESA under Jim Hallett’s leadership, so it should be no surprise that it thrived even more, growing in profit and size, when he returned to the new company,” said Mike Kacsmar, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Americas Program Director. “His tenacity, entrepreneurial spirit and compassion toward those he works with has propelled Jim to incredible success and truly differentiates him from others.”

The KAR CEO received the award, ahead of more than 250 potential recipients, at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif. on Sat., Nov. 15.

“This award is truly an honor, and it is humbling to have been chosen from so many talented and accomplished leaders who I personally find to be so inspiring,” Hallett said. “I would like to thank our 12,000 employees across the United States, Canada and Mexico for the work they do every day to make KAR successful. It is their talent and dedication that make this recognition possible.”