The world's largest wholesale auto auction company expects to more than double its cyber sales next year.
Manheim Auctions believes that dealers, financial institutions and auto companies will conduct more business electronically so the company is expanding its electronic commerce skills, said Hal Logan, senior vice president of marketing.
Manheim expects to sell 7 million vehicles, valued at about $36 billion, through its physical auctions this year. Its Manheim Online Internet site, meanwhile, is expected to process just $625 million worth of vehicles. But Manheim thinks that figure will jump to $1.5 billion to $2 billion next year.
'Our objective is to help dealers buy cars 24 hours a day, seven days a week,' said Logan, during a meeting with Automotive News staffers in late October.
Here's how Manheim sees its programs working in the future. Some of them already are in place.
Every vehicle that rolls into a Manheim auction is registered, and a digital photo is taken.
The vehicle might be offered first at a Manheim cyberlot, an Internet site where the owner offers the vehicle for sale at a fixed price. If the vehicle has not sold after three or four days, the owner then may send it to a cyber auction, an Internet site that will let dealers bid on the vehicle. The cyber auction site is not yet being offered to all consignors.
The owner at any time has the option of taking the vehicle to a physical auction.
'What we're offering to the seller is the opportunity to dispose of this asset in both an electronic and physical environment, either at a fixed price or in a bidding environment,' Logan said.
About 10,500 franchise and used-car dealers pay $50 a month to subscribe to Manheim Online, he said. About 1,000 vehicles are sold each week through the cyberlots.
Among other things, Manheim Online subscribers can list their inventory on AutoTrader.com for free.
AutoTrader.com is Manheim's online classified service for consumers. It boasts an inventory of 1.5 million vehicles and 3 million Internet visitors a month. AutoTrader.com was created after AutoConnect.com and Auto Trader Online merged in July.
About 44,000 franchise and used-car dealers have listings on AutoTrader.com. CEO Chip Perry said the company makes money on the site by selling banner ads, site links and enhanced listings.