Long-promised, multi-list auction website ready for prime time?

auto auction

 

Developers of an online multi-listing solution that would allow bids on vehicles offered at various auto auction websites say they are making progress on finally bringing that project to fruition – almost certainly by the end of the year.

Manheim President Sandy Schwartz said that some players in the auto auction business had questioned why the company would want to be involved with a so-called “multiplatform” solution, considering that it already has the most cars and is, by far, the largest of the auction sites.

“My feeling is that’s what business is for, in the end,” Schwartz said. “I don’t mean this to be at all arrogant, but let the best man win. If we’re the ones that can sell that car, we should be able to sell it.”

Schwartz told attendees at the recent National Auto Finance Conference in Fort Worth that his company and the other platform developers would meet with the U.S. Department of Justice to allay any concerns that the solution would chill competition.

The Manheim executive said the technology is currently being built, and told the Texas audience that he’s really hoping a working model will be online by the third quarter this year.

At the latest, Schwartz said, the model should be good to go by the fourth quarter.

That means that by the first of the year, there will be a multiplatform bidding solution where buyers can look at most wholesale cars available (SmartAuction is not participating in the project).

“Who is selling it shouldn’t be important. What should be important to you is, ‘Is this a car I would buy in a live bidding?’” said Schwartz.

Joe McCloskey, owner of Colorado-based McCloskey Motors, said that if the platform enables vehicles from multiple sites to be purchased in one place, the site could bring some much-needed simplicity to the auction process.

“One-stop shopping would be great,” he said.

Skepticism about the site remains among many in the industry, but that didn’t dampen Schwartz’s enthusiasm in Fort Worth.

“I would just tell you, it’s not easy to get Manheim, ADESA and all the independents aligned,” he said. “But we are really focused on this moving forward and are the biggest proponent of it.”

– Cody Lyon

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