LAS VEGAS -- Manheim is trying to speed up the bidding and buying process for dealers who buy used vehicles listed on Manheim.com and OVE.com.
In October, it began requiring sellers to set the starting bid on their vehicles no lower than three bids below their floor price, said Jenifer Eggert, the company's vice president of digital services.
The floor price is the minimum bid a seller will accept.
At the same time, the company set the default search filter on the sites to show vehicle listings that have condition reports and seller disclosures and are priced at or below 120 percent of the prices listed in the Manheim Market Report, which provides transaction prices for all vehicles sold at Manheim auctions.
Manheim made the changes based on suggestions from its customers and its own research: Those are the most commonly used filter settings.
"It's all done to save time," Eggert told Automotive News last month during Auto Remarketing's Used Car Week conference here.
Before, vehicle sellers could set their starting price at any amount, Eggert said. Eggert quoted customers who said, "Sometimes, I bid once and we make an agreement, but sometimes, the seller puts the starting bid so far back, I have to bid 10, 12, 13, 15 times to even get close to that they want."
Now, for example, a seller who sets the floor price at $10,000 and the bids at $100 increments has to start the first bid at $9,800. If that seller tried to set the starting bid at, say, $9,000, the site automatically would raise it to $9,800, Eggert said.
Setting starting bids well below the floor price gave sellers an advantage by giving them a feel for what buyers were willing to pay. If the vehicle failed to reach the floor price, at least the seller had an inkling of what price might produce a sale. But that advantage to the seller was a disadvantage to buyers in lost time.
Also, before the changes, buyers had to manually set search filters on the sites to see those listings with condition reports, seller disclosures and prices at or below the 120 percent level.
Now, the listings' display filter can be changed to show vehicle listings that are above Manheim Market Report value and those that have neither condition reports nor seller disclosures.
"By implementing this policy, it shortens the gap between seller and buyer," Eggert said.
At the request of wholesalers, the company tweaked the filter to allow vehicles that have over 100,000 miles on their odometers and are priced under $10,000 -- but equal to more than the 120 percent of the Manheim Market Report value -- to show up in the default search because of price swings in that vehicle segment.
"There are many categories of buyers and sellers in the wholesale market, and to please everybody is not easy, so we want to hear them out and make the changes that make the most sense for industry and not just our big customers," she said. "We listen to everybody."