One would envision car auctions to be assemblies of the wealthy, often represented by proficient assistants or experts from reputable auction firms, bidding for ownership of rare and very expensive vintage cars. For auction ignoramuses, it is almost unthinkable for used cars to be auctioned.
In most countries, used cars are commonly auctioned. But sometimes, new cars are part of auctioned articles. There are auction processes and laws observed by auctioneers to ensure fairness and order in the conduct of auto auctions.
In Japan, while the public can easily access information about cars and auto auctions, private individuals cannot just attend and participate in these auctions. Holding auction memberships are a precondition for participation. By law, only car dealers may become members of auto auctions. It is done to maintain harmony and order in car auctions as only “professionals” participate in the actual bidding.
The cheap used cars found in abundance especially in most third-world countries are products of the efforts of a small percentage of Japanese used-vehicle importers who are obviously members of their auto auction groups, numbering over 30 – the primary sources of used vehicles. These auto auctions are regularly held in more than 200 locations around the country.
Auto auctions in the United States primarily cater to dealers of used cars as they are considered the biggest wholesale market sources of used vehicles. While most of these auto auctions are not generally known to the public, some are advertised and openly held to get rid of unwanted inventory such as those repossessed or taken over by banks and financing firms for non-payment of lease or amortizations, confiscations by the police, IRS, DEA, FBI and other government agencies, and may include new cars in the inventory. Salvage market car auctions are the last frontier.
Auctioned “totalled” vehicles or those that are damaged beyond repair or where costs for efforts of restoration exceed the current value, still fetch a small recovery value.
The United Kingdom has much the same processes and auctioneers as those of the US, but is participated in by the general public, small and big car dealer groups. Most vehicles auctioned are from company fleets and are therefore of satisfactory if not excellent condition vis-à-vis their mileage age.
Car auctions in the rest of the world are pretty much patterned to those of the countries above – the most significant influences in the global auto market.
Relatively new in the market, online auto auctions are hip. eBay makes waves in auto auctioneering – for very small fees collected from sellers. The process is very simple. It involves creating an eBay account that becomes the passport to becoming an online auto auctioneer. Prospective buyers logically prefer to buy from sellers within his locality so they can make optical and physical inspection – a wise prerequisite move before concluding any buy car transaction.