CHICAGO - More than 8.6 million used cars and trucks valued at about $66.7 billion were sold in 1998 through auto auctions owned by members of the nation's largest wholesale auction association.
The National Auto Auction Association gleaned that data from its 204 members who responded to a survey conducted for the association by Langan Associates in Washington.
Larry Tribble, owner of Southern Auto Auction in East Windsor, Conn., was chairman of the committee in charge of the study. He said the survey is significant because it provides the most accurate rundown of the industry's activities that the association has ever had.
'The number of dollars we handle is just amazing - billions and billions. A lot of people don't fathom that until they see the actual numbers,' said Tribble, a past president of the association.
Tribble said such information is invaluable because it shows industry trends in areas such as floorplanning, and it reveals how auctions have prepared - in terms of reconditioning facilities - to handle used-car certification in the future.
'If you're trying to make a decision about whether to invest more money in your business, you kind of want to know what everybody else is doing,' Tribble added.
The study indicates that the average auction is located on 57 acres, has 221 full-time and part-time employees, and has 6.4 auction lanes.
Ninety-four percent of the auctions offer some form of dealer financing.
Tribble said it is likely that other such surveys will follow.