General Motors' increased reliance on online used-vehicle sales and cuts in sales to rental fleets have caused the company to eliminate five of its U.S. auctions limited to GM dealers.
GM now uses 39 closed physical auctions to remarket used cars and trucks to U.S. dealers, said Mark Mathews, GM's director of used-vehicle activities.
Mathews said GM remarkets about 40 percent of its used vehicles to dealers through its SmartAuction online channel. GM's captive finance company, General Motors Acceptance Corp., operates SmartAuction.
"The dealer community is becoming far more comfortable with the Internet," Mathews told Automotive News. At the same time, he said, GM's reduced sales to rental companies are cutting the number of "program" vehicles it must remarket when they leave rental service. He did not offer specific figures.
Mathews estimated that GM will sell 800,000 used cars and trucks to dealers this year on SmartAuction and other online sites. That would be down from 900,000 in 2006, he said, because of the decline in the number of vehicles GM is remarketing.
This month, GM is phasing out its closed auctions at an ADESA Inc. site in New Jersey and a Manheim site in San Antonio. In January it halted closed auctions at an ADESA site near Buffalo, N.Y.; a Manheim site in Louisville, Ky.; and an Auction Broadcasting Co. site in Michigan.