Every week for nearly 15 years now, I have seen thousands of vehicles go through the auctioneer’s hammer at the wholesale auto auctions here in metropolitan Atlanta.
Some are ready for another good owner. While others are as wore out as an old mop and worth more dead than alive.
They all have one thing in common. Within a four hour period, they will all be offered for sale by hundreds of sellers to thousands of buyers that range from a mile away to a different continent.
Over 100 vehicles an hour. 150 decibels of auctioneer gibberish. Often times 2000+ opportunities to buy yourself a steal of a deal or a rolling money pit in a matter of a few hours. Chances are If your vehicle gets traded-in, repossessed, leased, or is company owned, it will make at least one trip to a wholesale auction.
Finance companies, manufacturers and car dealers of all sizes have one solitary thing in common when they bring these vehicles to the sales. They want to make money, and they also want buyers who are confident enough to bid on high cost items that they have barely touched or test driven.
To help with this, most large auto auctions will now let you view vehicles online, thousands of miles away, and hopefully find that one wholesale buyer who is willing to pay the most money for that ride.
So what’s out there? More than you can ever imagine. From repossessed Ford Taurus wagons with weeks old diapers and bullet holes. To equally stomach churning Fisker Karmas that have everything but replacement parts and a warranty.
The Monday Mileage Champion series will focus on the best and worst that come through the auction block. We’ll focus a bit on the mileage quotient of course along with age. But the real answers, those that focus on a brand or model’s inherent qualities, will be tabulated in a database that now lists over 120,000 trade-ins; from Connecticut to California.
By the time the year ends, there will be over 300,000 data points with a massive breadth of evaluation tools to make any Sabremetric enthusiast proud.
We’re not at that point yet. However with enough volunteers, including a statistical analyst that we will call Nick for now since that happens to be his real name, all that data should begin to construct a clearer picture (click here for the database.)
So feel free to venture forth in the uncharted waters of auto auctions. Where AS/IS really means you buy it right where it sits. Along with whatever falls off that vehicle as it goes through the auction block.