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Car Auction Hammer
The best car auctions are dealer-only auctions operated by firms such as Manheim and Adesa. These auto auction companies operate wholesale vehicle auctions in major metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada.
At dealer auctions, car dealers purchase a large percentage of the cars that they sell on their used-car lots. The profits they make on these cars are often far greater than their profits on new car sales. A dealer may buy a late model automobile at auction and mark it up 50 or even 100 percent! New-car markups, on the other hand, are often 5 to 10 percent over the manufacturer invoice price.
At these efficiently run, dealer-only auctions, cosmetic and mechanical condition reports are provided for most auctioned vehicles. Dealers expect these vehicle condition reports to provide accurate, detailed, unvarnished information. They rely on these reports and the integrity of the dealer-only auction firms to make sound car buying decisions.
Unfortunately, access to a wholesale dealers’ auction is only available to licensed car dealers. Auto auctions that are open to the public may be labeled Public, Government, Insurance, or Charity auctions. Purchasing a vehicle at these auctions involves a greater degree of risk. They are often patronized by people who know cars well or have access to a low cost repair facility. At most public car auctions, attendees can walk around the vehicles, open their doors, note their odometer mileages, and open their hoods, trunks, and tailgates. In most cases, potential buyers are not permitted to drive the cars or even start their engines.
Full payment is normally required immediately after a successful bid. Vehicles are sold “as is”, sales are final, and no warranty is provided. If you insist on purchasing a car at such an auction, be sure you have the expertise to identify signs of water damage, accident damage, or poor maintenance. Ideally, bring along a trained auto mechanic or auto body expert who can spot such problems.
Use the directory menu above to find dealer-only and public auto auctions in each state of the United States and the District of Columbia.