Manheim is expanding its mobile auction business, expecting its sales from the operation to rise at least 25 percent this year.
As part of the expansion, Manheim, the nation's largest auto-auction company, just rolled out two mobile auctions, bringing its total to 16. It plans to add eight more by year end.
The newest mobile auctions are large trucks that have satellite connections and what Manheim calls an "auction in a box": an equipment-filled cart that can be wheeled off the truck to hold an auction in a car lot, conference room or warehouse.
Mobile auction sales represent less than 5 percent of Manheim's revenue today, but the share could reach 20 percent if mobile sales "really caught on," Manheim North America President Janet Barnard said. She declined to give dollar figures.
"At this kind of growth rate, we could easily double in size this year," Barnard said. "Our goal is not quite that big, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if we didn't double our volume from last year."
Barnard says mobile auctions appeal to dealers who want options when they can't get to one of Manheim's 79 fixed auction locations. "There are a lot of small markets with sizable dealerships that we're just not in," she said.
Manheim estimated the cost of the new mobile auctions at around $175,000 apiece. With two recently launched and eight more planned, that equates to Manheim's investing around $1.75 million in the mobile auctions in 2015.
Manheim says it can host auction sales for franchised dealers on their lots, reducing their transportation expenses and expanding their pool of buyers. Manheim works with retailers such as Hendrick Automotive Group, Five Star Automotive Group and Mike Anderson Auto Group to host mobile auctions.
Manheim holds around 25 mobile auction sales monthly. A typical sale attracts 100 onsite and online buyers, many of them independents. The average vehicle selling price is around $5,000.