In a move to further expand its reach, GMAC Financial Services’ online sales channel will start holding special weekend auctions featuring retired rental vehicles. Previously, such sales were only on weekdays.
Starting tomorrow and Sunday, Dec. 6, GMAC’s SmartAuction will offer upward of 1,000 vehicles owned by rental companies such as Hertz Car Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. and Avis Rent A Car System, said Bob Taar, GMAC director of sales, rental and dealer groups.
GMAC is also reducing fees that dealers pay to buy vehicles in the SmartAuction sale. Although fees vary, dealers can expect to save about $30 on a fee of $225, said GMAC spokesman Mike Stoller.
“We’re out there to grow our business,” Taar said. “Our dealer base has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. The amount of vehicles we’re getting from these large consignors and large rental-car companies have grown as well.”
Randy Bishop, used-car manager at Voss Chevrolet in Centerville, Ohio, said he will check out the SmartAuction sale this weekend. He said his dealership is open on Saturdays, and he likes the idea of being able to shop for and replenish inventory over the weekend.
Bishop said he hopes the company soon includes off-lease and repossessed vehicles in its weekend offerings because those typically have mileage more appropriate to their ages.
“Customers are a little leery of a 1-year-old car that has 30,000 or 40,000 miles vs. a 1-year-old car that has 15,000 miles on it,” Bishop said. “We try to offer consumers whatever it is they are looking for. Most consumers aren’t interested in a high-mileage 1-year old car.”
The new weekend auctions will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Saturday and Sunday. Vehicle listings and descriptions and sellers’ names will be posted on the site Friday afternoon.
Listings also will include buy-it-now prices, set by the vehicle owners for dealers who skip the auction process to buy the vehicles any time after they are posted.
Vehicles that don’t sell Saturday will be available on Sunday, Taar said. Most being offered for sale are 2009 models, with a few 2008 models.
Taar said vehicles sold this year by rental-car companies generally have about 40,000 miles on their odometers. But in the past few weeks, many of the retired rental vehicles on SmartAuction have had 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
In 2000, GMAC created SmartAuction to sell GM-owned retired rental vehicles and GMAC-owned off-lease vehicles to dealers of the company’s brands. GM later opened the channel to other sellers and non-GM dealers.
SmartAuction has sold about 420,000 units this year and is “hitting targets,” GMAC said. SmartAuction sold 435,000 vehicles in 2008.
In March, Mark Newman, GMAC vice president of remarketing, said the company expected to sell fewer GMAC- and GM-owned vehicles. He attributed that to the industrywide sales slump, cuts in the number of vehicles GM buys back from rental-car companies and GMAC’s curtailment of the number of vehicles it leases.
Just under 10,000 dealers are registered on SmartAuction. About 12,000 GM and non-GM vehicles are offered for sale on the site each day.