Common — and expensive — 2016 vehicle components targeted by thieves


The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) looked at the cost of replacement parts for the Top 10 stolen vehicles from the 2016 model year and uncovered how lucrative illegal operations can be that chop up these units — and potentially take away business from your dealership’s service drive.

NICB insisted that expensive parts will continue to drive thefts as criminals steal cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market.

Thefts of vehicles in the U.S. rose again last year by more than 4 percent, according to preliminary 2017 crime data from the FBI. Officials indicated many of the vehicles that are recovered are missing wheels and rims or other key parts, while ones that are never recovered end up in chop shops where they are quickly dismantled and sold piece by piece.

The NICB pulled average OEM part prices from a database of more than 24 million vehicle damage appraisals generated for insurance claims from 2016 and 2017. Parts such as bumpers, doors, fenders, hoods and headlights were on the list. Major components like the engine and transmission were not included.

Here are three examples of what bureau officials found:

—The 2016 Toyota Camry, the most stolen 2016 model in their latest “Hot Wheels” report, had 15 commonly replaced components valued at nearly $11,000. That’s not including labor.

—The 2016 Nissan Altima had 14 standard components worth more than $14,000, including a single headlamp assembly valued at more than $1,000.

—And the 2016 GMC Sierra pickup truck included a $1,100 headlamp and a rear bumper worth more than $1,100. The 20 standard components rang in at more than $21,000.

“For the professional theft ring, stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been a lucrative business,” NICB senior vice president and chief operating officer Jim Schweitzer said. “On today’s cars and trucks, the parts are often worth more than the intact vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. That’s why we see so many thefts of key items like wheels and tires and tailgates...there’s always a market for them.

“We support law enforcement efforts, especially the auto theft task forces that focus on these kinds of theft rings,” Schweitzer continued. “Shutting down a theft ring and a chop shop can have a major impact on reducing thefts in a community.”

The NCIB shared more details in as well as or through the window at the top of this page.

5 ways to spot finer points of potentially weather-damaged vehicles

AUSTIN, Texas - 

An auction operator who likely saw at least some of the rain from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma spelled out his five points to consider as the industry watches for flood-damaged vehicles.

Chris Tomchay, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Appraisal Lane and co-owner of the Georgia-Carolina Auto Auction, shared his five thoughts as estimates approach 1 million units being impacted by the consecutive Category 4 hurricanes to touch the U.S.

“Apart from the basics, there are other telltale signs that dealers and private parties should pay attention to when it comes to signs of hurricane-related damage,” said Tomchay, whose auction is located 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. “Information is power, so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to avoid getting burned on the bottom line.”

Here are Tomchay’s five additional tips:

1. A clean history report doesn’t always mean a clean vehicle.

With widespread hurricane damage in Florida and Texas in recent months, and with Tropical Storm Nate now bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Tomchay explained that it’s important to note that dealers can’t always trust a clean vehicle history report.

“Sometimes there is lag time in the reporting of flood damaged cars to vehicle history reporting organizations. Even 60 or 90 days, at this juncture, is enough time for a vehicle that would otherwise been deemed as ‘salvage’ or ‘totaled’ to be sold to an unsuspecting buyer,” he said.

2. There’s a big difference between salt water and fresh water damage.

While fresh water submersion means damp upholstery or wet engine components that could ultimately be dried and restored, Tomchay pointed out salt water damage is something altogether different.

“Salt causes significant corrosion which, in the long run, can cause big problems to the major components of a car, including the steering and electrical systems, the transmission, the undercarriage, the fuel system, the body panels, and much more,” Tomchay said.

He added that while some waterlogged vehicles with minor damage can represent a good value, it’s important to know the type of water that caused the damage.

3. Flood damaged vehicles can break the bank — but they can also come at a value.

Tomchay acknowledged that certain flood damaged vehicles represent a value depending on the extent and type of damage.

“I’m all for buying a car at  ($0.50) on the dollar if it was submerged to the floor in fresh water, or purchasing a vehicle for ($0.75)  on the dollar if it was stranded on a ship in a salt water port and the manufacturer merely voided the exterior paint warranty,” he said. “It really depends on the situation.”

4. Beware of out-of-state registrations.

If a vehicle that is registered in a known hurricane-havocked region suddenly shows up for sale in your Northeast or Midwest market, Tomchay recommended that dealers should be extra diligent — particularly now.

“Take a little extra time to evaluate the vehicle using The Appraisal Lane’s SMART tips,” he said. “It could wind up saving you thousands of dollars in the end.”

5. Flood damage isn’t the only hurricane damage.

Tomchay also mentioned small sized hail on a light colored exterior could go unnoticed, as could sand blasting from high winds.

“Be sure to closely inspect a car’s exterior in proper lighting, preferably in sunlight and from various angles,” he said. “If you’re still unsure, solicit an inspection from a qualified body repair shop.”

Tomchay concludes that if dealers are still uncertain when it comes to evaluating a potential hurricane damaged vehicle, or off-brand/one-off inventory, a community approach to appraisals is best — one that connects you with expert appraisers in real time, backed by cash offers.

“Evaluating vehicles based on the law of averages is particularly risky, not to mention trying to evaluate vehicles that may have been damaged during this volatile hurricane season,” he said.

The Appraisal Lane — a Silver Sponsor at  which begins on Nov. 13 in Palm Springs, Calif. — consists of vehicle appraisers whose singular responsibility is to evaluate thousands of vehicles each month across all makes and models. The company’s mobile app can connect dealers with a larger community of appraisers and buyers to receive real time cash offers on inventory.

For dealers interested in more information about The Appraisal Lane, visit or send a message to [email protected]

Podcast: On-Site at NIADA National Policy Conference

CARY, N.C. - 

Nick made the trip to Washington, D.C., this week for NIADA’s National Policy Conference and connected with NIADA president David Andrews and Kathy Collins, who is the industry relations manager at CARFAX.

We discussed how independent dealers are faring this year and how the industry is handling thousands of vehicles damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Check out the conversations below.

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KAR looking to care for employees & customers in wake of Harvey

CARMEL, Ind. - 

As passionate as Jim Hallett spoke about the ways KAR Auction Services is geared up to handle the wholesale market workload coming because of Hurricane Harvey, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer emphasized more than anything during an exclusive conversation with AuSM on Friday how the well-being of nearly 1,000 employees in the impacted region trumped it all.

While KAR wasn’t aware of any employees being injured, Hallett shared that some individuals initially ended up in shelters after being rescued by emergency personnel. That stark reality is giving KAR’s team some profound perspective as Insurance Auto Auctions braces to process thousands of damaged units and ADESA prepares for the likelihood more units will be coming down the lanes at physical facilities or online.

“I think you start with a good word, horrific. First and foremost, we’re talking about lives here. We’re talking about people losing their lives in this event. Losing their homes and their entire belongings. When you think about it, it’s just really devastating,” Hallett said.

“We’re truly committed to our employees and truly committed to the community,” he said later during the phone conversation. “We want to help these employees and want to help these communities rebuild. We’re going to work with local officials to help people get re-established. This is a big comeback here.

“I want to tell you how proud I am of this organization and how proud I am of all of our employees throughout KAR, all of KAR, all of our business entities. It’s unbelievable the number of employees we’ve had say, ‘How can I help?’ These are employees not anywhere near Houston; employees that are scattered around the country and North America who are stepping up,” Hallett went on to say.

“That’s such a refreshing feeling and speaks to the culture at KAR,” he added.

KAR also is organizing programs so its employees can volunteer as well as donate financially.

“We want to take care of our own but also want to be able to help the community, as well,” Hallett said. “It makes me very proud as CEO of this company to know we have a culture that cares, not only cares about ourselves but cares about each other and our community. At the end of the day as tough as this is and difficult as it is, it’s going to make our company even stronger.”

Stronger plan at IAA

Also participating on the exclusive call was John Kett, who is chief executive officer and president of Insurance Auto Auctions. While IAA and its insurance company clients are still gathering information, Kett acknowledged the damage from Harvey is likely to surpass what the company handled during Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

“We’re really going to focus on the recovery,” Kett said. “At IAA, that’s really where we begin to help. We’re helping to get those vehicles off the streets and out of people’s yards and helping the insurance companies settle claims so they can help their policyholders begin to rebuild their lives. First and foremost, that’s what we provide in an event like this.”

Kett highlighted how IAA has modified its disaster response, using the experiences gained through Katrina, Sandy and Hurricane Matthew last fall. One component of the enhanced planning Kett explained is how IAA already identified key personnel who will be a part of handling tasks associated with natural disasters like hurricanes. He indicated members of that team headed for Texas even before Harvey finished dumping more than 50 inches of rain in some locations near Houston.

Kett noted that IAA also has improved its database of pre-screened tow truck operators as more than 1,000 units are set to pick up damaged vehicles in the region. He also touched on how IAA is making sure additional employees have temporary housing accommodations and plenty of fuel is available for equipment. It’s all part of mobilizing as much as possible for when the real heavy-lifting beings.

“Our approach is getting people there, getting equipment and getting capacity. We have a plan throughout the flood-prone areas to have additional real estate available. The size and scale of this were far beyond our normal planning horizon so we’re adding hundreds of acres as we speak,” Kett said.

“We’ve done a much better job of being ready. We worked through our plans during the non-catastrophe part of the year so when the storm does hit we can just put those plans into motion,” he continued.

And once IAA coordinates with insurance companies and salvage units are to be sold, the company already has plans in motion for those tasks, too.

“Once it’s time to begin to liquidate, another thing we bring to the table is we’ve got an extensive buyer base both domestically and internationally. We’ve got buyers in 110 countries. They like this type of inventory,” Kett said. “We’re already beginning to build marketing campaigns to make them aware so they’re ready when we’re able to begin selling these vehicles.”

Meeting needs of dealers & consignors

Not far off from his emphasis on the well-being of employees, Hallett also described how the entire KAR family of companies is looking to cater to the needs of dealers as well as consignors since Harvey is leaving the wholesale market in a unique position. For example, additional off-lease volume no longer is likely to be troublesome.

“This is a big opportunity for the remarketing customers. I think this is really going to help many these captive finance companies and leasing companies to be able to move some of these what I call young vehicles, 3-year-old, off-lease cars with 40,000 miles on them, and move them into the Houston market and have a great outlet for these vehicles,” Hallett said.

“I do believe we were concerned about some price erosion with oversupply of off-lease cars,” he continued. “I think there may even be an opportunity for the price to stabilize if not improve a little bit. That’s not just in the Texas market. That could affect prices across the country.”

While hundreds of KAR employees have been impacted by Harvey, Hallett wanted the entire industry to know KAR is “open for business.” The company indicated usual activities at ADESA, IAA and AFC operations in Texas and beyond are on schedule.

“We want our customers to know, both sellers and buyers, that we are absolutely going to do everything we can to support their selling and buying activities in every possible venue we have, including our physical auction footprint, our online nationwide private label business through OPENLANE and TradeRev that allows dealers to buy vehicles as well as AFC that provides the liquidity to buy these cars,” Hallett said.

“We’re not going to take advantage of the situation,” he added. “We’re not going to increase prices because of demand. We’re going to be very fair and understanding. We’re going to do business as usual without putting any extra burden on the buyers and sellers. We’re going to assist them in any way we can.”

5 elements of Copart’s updated mobile app


Copart on Friday launched the newest version of the Copart Mobile App, available for Apple iOS and Android devices. The Copart Mobile App is designed to give buyers the ability to attend Copart’s live auctions from anywhere.

With this new update, Copart said buyers will enjoy a faster, easier user experience.

“Each new iteration of the Copart Mobile App provides another level of value to our buyers in more than 150 countries and territories using the app,” Copart chief executive officer Jay Adair said in a news release.

“We are seeing tremendous usage rates, with more than 80 percent of those who download the app using it every three days, and the majority of those using it daily,” Adair continued.

With the Copart Mobile App update, Copart buyers get access to the following features:

—Upload licenses using the Copart license uploader

—Scan bar codes using the new lot scan feature to get vehicle details at Copart locations

—Choose a preferred language with new multi-language options available in the app settings

—Access updated search filters with the Copart smart search tool

—View vehicle videos and extended notes now available in the app

In 2013, Copart launched its first iPhone app as well as its first iPad-optimized app, providing Copart buyers with a convenient tool to view vehicles, join live online auctions and place bids.  In 2015, the company launched the Android version, expanding its reach to an even broader digital audience.

Since then, the app continues to be a product of innovation and refinement. In addition to updating its mobile app, this year Copart launched an updated, mobile-responsive version of its website, The enhanced website is 10 times faster than the previous version.

“Through buyer surveys, website back forms and app store reviews, we can pinpoint our buyers' needs and update our app and website to stay ahead of the game,” said Michelle Hoffman, Copart’s vice president of marketing.

To learn more, go to at .

Copart reaches 200 locations worldwide


Copart now has 200 physical location to facilitate its online salvage auction endeavors. The latest one came aboard on Thursday, representing the company’s 15th location in California.

Copart opened its newest location in Wilmington, Calif., as now the company operates seven locations in southern California.

“More than three decades ago, Copart opened its first yard in California, so it’s only fitting that the landmark opening of our 200th location is also in California,” Copart chief executive officer Jay Adair said in a news release. “I’m extremely proud of the hard work that has gotten us here, and I look forward to continued success.”

In 2002, Copart expanded to 100 locations in the United States. One year later, it opened its first international location in Canada. Today, Copart has operations in 11 countries across five continents.

“A growing global presence is a win for both our sellers and buyers. For our sellers, it improves cycle time and reduces costs. For our buyers, it increases access to a greater volume and variety of vehicles,” Copart president Vinnie Mitz said.

Through Copart’s multi-channel online platform, sellers are linked to potential buyers, and bidders can view location information, search vehicles, place bids and participate in live online vehicle auctions on their mobile devices, tablets and computers.

In addition to conducting online vehicle auctions, Copart is a proud community partner. Visit for a glimpse into the many ways that the company supports local, regional and national charities, law enforcement and first responders.

Copart opens 5th Illinois location


Copart announced it recently opened a new location in Alton, Ill., the company’s fifth in Illinois.

"The opening of this location in southern Illinois addresses our increasing volume, which has been driven by both organic growth in the industry and market wins," Jay Adair, chief executive officer of Copart, said in a news release. "Furthermore, it gives us the capacity for continued expansion in the St. Louis region."

The southern Illinois location hosts online sales on Wednesdays at noon.

Vehicles may be previewed in person Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The facility is located at 99 Racehorse Drive, and the general manager is Andrew Kaufman.

Auctions are hosted on More Information about the auctions can be found .

Additionally, select Copart Midwest locations have served as safe environments for fire department training.

Local fire departments, law enforcement and similar government agencies are encouraged to the general manager of any Copart location for information about conducting training at Copart.

Copart expands Chicago North location


Copart recently expanded its Chicago North location where sales occur at noon every Thursday.

“The Chicago North expansion is a great addition to our network in the Chicago area where we currently have four locations serving our members and sellers,” Copart chief executive officer Jay Adair said. "This land allows the capacity to continue growing in the Chicago market.”

Copart said it practices good corporate citizenship and prides itself on giving back to the local communities in which it does business. Throughout the Midwest, Copart said its locations have given back to its communities.

Copart Des Moines in Iowa showed its support for both their fellow military veterans at Copart and all American veterans through their participation in the 2016 Des Moines Ruck. Copart Indianapolis hosted its local Indianapolis fire department and provided a safe training environment for the department’s three-day training.      

Local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to the general manager at the Copart Chicago North location to learn more about conducting training at Copart.

In addition to supporting local agencies and veteran services, Copart supports numerous local, regional and national charities. To learn more, visit .

Copart announces opening in 46th state


On Wednesday, Copart announced the addition of its first location in Wyoming and fourth in Colorado, along with the expansion of its Springfield, Mo., location.

"We have been expanding and adding new locations throughout the United States this year, and we are pleased to add Wyoming as our 46th state in which we are operating," Copart chief executive officer, Jay Adair, said in a news release.

"Our land and ability to accommodate inventory is one of the many things that sets Copart apart," Adair continued. "Our sellers depend on us to have land available for their vehicles, and our expansions and new locations exhibit our ability to provide our sellers with an unmatched experience."

The company’s two new locations are in Casper, Wyo. and Littleton, Colo.

Last year, Copart reported the opening of 10 new locations and the expansion of 13 existing locations nationwide.

Copart also grew internationally after developing operations in the Republic of Ireland, Spain and Germany in 2016.

"We achieved a tremendous milestone last year when we eclipsed an annual sales rate in excess of two million vehicles sold, and these new locations and expansions allow us to accommodate our growing inventory," said Adair.

7 warning signs of flood-damaged vehicles

LONG BEACH, Calif. - 

With a host of rivers in places such as North Carolina cresting at record levels, Hurricane Matthew has floodwaters rising throughout the Southeast, wreaking havoc in communities, damaging homes, businesses and vehicles.

With the American Red Cross’ previous announcement that the this year’s flooding in Louisiana was the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2013, many property owners are concerned that Hurricane Matthew will further compound the issue of flood-damaged vehicles potentially going down the lanes or ending up in inventory.

“It’s important for used-car shoppers to know how to spot flood damage no matter where they live, because these cars can end up on a dealer lot anywhere, especially this year,” said Alliance Inspection Management (AiM) regional director Carl Sullivan, who has more than 32 years of vehicle inspection experience.

“A car that’s been in a flood, with the engine submerged for any length of time, will never be the same,” Sullivan continued.

Many states issue a flood or salvage title to a vehicle that has been submerged or flood-damaged, information which can be found on a vehicle history report.

However, some sellers may try to unload their vehicle before a flood or salvage title appears on a vehicle’s history report. To combat this possibility, Sullivan offered these warning signs to help identify flood damage in a vehicle:

• A musty odor in the vehicle, which may be from moldy carpeting or padding. If possible, pull up the carpeting to see how far water may have risen in the vehicle, and also if any moisture remains

• Mud in the seat belt tracks or seat belt tensioners

• Water or condensation in the headlights or taillights. Sullivan notes this could also be due to an accident, but water in these areas could also be a tip-off to flood-related problems

• Water in the spare tire well in a vehicle’s trunk. “If we see water in the spare tire well, it leads us to look a little further,” said Sullivan

• A sagging headliner in the interior, particularly on a late-model vehicle

• Look under the seats. “I found two fish under a back seat once,” said Sullivan, who was inspecting cars in Florida at the time. “That was a pretty sure sign the car had been flooded.”

• Corrosion in the vehicle’s undercarriage, such as on brake lines or around the fuel tank. When corrosion appears near the top of the springs or shock towers are corroded, these are signs of flood-related damage.

“A car’s engine, electronics, fuel system, airbags and brakes are all extremely susceptible to flood water,” Sullivan said. “It’s extremely important to find any water damage before you invest your money in a used car, and a professional inspection will find flood damage no matter how a seller tries to hide it.”

AiM and its team of 1200- full-time inspectors review vehicles throughout the U.S., providing detailed condition reports for clients ranging from consumers, dealers and auctions to manufacturers. AiM’s independent, 150-point inspection can identify problems on vehicles for buyers and sellers. The company has instructed its inspectors to pay particular attention to flood damage due to this year’s severe weather.

AiM also is a platinum sponsor of this year’s National Remarketing Conference/NAAA Convention, which is set for Nov. 16-18 at the Red Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. It’s all part of Used Car Week that also includes the CPO Forum — America’s Used Car Conference, the SubPrime Forum and the Re3 Conference.

Used Car Week brings together dealers, auction executives, finance companies, service providers and other top industry experts for networking and more. A $200 early bird discount expires on Friday.

More details can be found at .