Manheim has released information on their website that in-lane bidding will be permitted to resume at select locations beginning on June 23rd. This marks the first time that their auctions will be open to in-person bidding since the closure forced by the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020.
The announcement comes as most states are loosening restrictions on businesses. Although the number of people infected continues to climb nationwide, locations in areas that are least affected will be permitted to allow in-person visits to bid on auctions with a live auctioneer.
It’s a welcome change for dealers who have resorted to Simulcast-only auctions. While convenient to bid on vehicles remotely, the ability to preview inventory before bidding allows an extra layer of confidence to the less tech-savvy buyers.
Select locations have been allowing in-person previews since May 1st, and some locations have been allowing sellers to rep their vehicles at auction starting June 8th. Viewing times and locations have expanded in recent weeks as well. As one of the two major auction facilities in North America, Manheim’s re-opening strategies help set the tone for the industry.
How Manheim Addresses Online Auction Challenges
The pandemic has unceremoniously transitioned many dealers who appreciate in-person auctions to being online buyers instead. Understandably, dealers often struggle with the online buying process as ‘sight unseen’ purchases may be more likely to cause issues during reconditioning – things like unforeseen mechanical issues or undocumented physical damaged. Manheim is doing their part to mitigate many of these concerns before they occur with enhanced processes.
Manheim’s President Grace Huang, said in a June 9th press release: “While our industry adapts to the changes brought on by COVID-19, two areas that remain critical to success are transparency and efficiency. For Manheim, transparency is about ensuring that vehicle information – such as condition reports and images – is accurate, consistent and actionable. This cannot be overstated, especially as more business is conducted sight unseen. And, as the speed of business accelerates, we believe it is more important than ever that both our physical and digital interactions are as efficient as possible to help drive better performance for us and our clients.”
Manheim’s Ongoing Policies for Auctions
With in-person bidding set to resume, Manheim has stated that there will be changes in place to physical operations. Plexiglas guards will be in place, and social distancing requirements and safety measures must be strictly followed. The press release clearly states that social distancing violations or a rise in COVID-19 hotspots could cause the pilot program to be suspended, essentially driving all auctions back online.
For dealers who wish to continue buying remotely, Manheim will continue to waive Simulcast buyer and seller fees, offer daily MMR retention values, and waive other common fees.
ADESA Remains Fully Online
While Manheim has rolled out the pilot program for in-person selling, ADESA continues to focus efforts online. According to their website, “All ADESA locations are hosting live, online sales through ADESA Simulcast, ADESA Simulcast+, and ADESA DealerBlock on ADESA.com in accordance with local, state, provincial, and national directives.”
Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles from him here.
Car Biz Today, the official resource of the retail automotive industry.