GMAC Financial Services is expanding its online auction channel for non-General Motors franchised dealerships and independent used-vehicle lots.
SmartAuctionOpen, formerly called UsedVehicleAuction.com, sells used vehicles owned by GM dealers, and cars and trucks repossessed by GMAC. It now offers retired rental vehicles owned by such companies as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car.
"SmartAuctionOpen has for sale the same vehicles dealers are accustomed to seeing at the physical auction in the GMAC open lanes," says Bill McIver, director of sales and business development for GMAC Remarketing.
Mike Strzalkowski, GMAC's remarketing manager, says the channel provides an arbitration process to help settle disputes between buyers and sellers. It also works with a third-party inspection service, he says.
Access to GMAC's separate Smart-Auction Internet sales channel is limited to dealers who operate GM franchises. Those dealers get first choice of GM retired rental vehicles, company cars and trucks, and vehicles at the end of GMAC leases. GM dealers also can buy vehicles on SmartAuctionOpen.
GMAC says it works with 2,800 non-GM dealerships. Company officials declined to say how many non-GM franchised dealerships use Smart- AuctionOpen.
This year, GMAC estimates, dealers will buy nearly 400,000 vehicles on SmartAuction and SmartAuction-Open. In 2006, dealers purchased about 370,000 cars and trucks on SmartAuction and UsedVehicleAuction.com.
About 3,500 GM dealers and managers visit the SmartAuction Web site every day, GMAC says. More than 5,000 GM and non-GM dealerships buy at least one vehicle a year from GMAC online sites.
SmartAuction and SmartAuction-Open generally list vehicles for three to five days, enabling dealers to place bids. Vehicles that do not sell on the sites go to physical auctions.
Darrin Lee, used-car manager at Marty Feldman Chevrolet in suburban Detroit, buys and sells vehicles on SmartAuctionOpen. Lee said he usually pays about $60 apiece to send vehicles to a physical auction. Online postings don't incur that cost, he says.
"Say I send 10 cars to the auction, it's a bad day, and I don't sell nine of them," Lee told Automotive News. "Now I've spent $60 times nine, and you can see how expensive it can be. With SmartAuctionOpen, I've eliminated the transportation costs."