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Multiple e-sales at Manheim

Manheim's internet-based Simulcast system has gone live in the UK after trials in America. Lombard took part in the first auction, which involved 38 dealers bidding online against buyers at the auction site.

The unique aspect is the fact that dealers can bid simultaneously at several auctions taking place across the country – in effect they can have one expert buying all the auction cars for the group without leaving the office. It increases the number of dealers competing for each car which will bump up the price paid, boosting residual values. In the US, where almost 80% of auctions are on Simulcast, one recent auction pitted two online bidders against each other for a Jaguar XJ6 after the dealers bidding at the site withdrew at $55,000 (£30,000). The car was eventually sold for $75,000 (£41,000) – the Simulcast bidders added $20,000 (£11,000) to the selling price.

Several manufacturers have signed up for closed auctions using Simulcast, as it enables more of their franchised dealers – some of whom rarely visit auction sites – to compete for cars. Manheim is also taking advantage of some confusion over website branding. In the US, it owns Autotrader.com, a used car search facility that is unrelated to the UK-based Autotrader.co.uk. However, British car buyers who put Autotrader into a search engine when looking for Autotrader.co.uk are often directed to Manheim's site instead. The company has now set up All Approved Cars to handle this traffic – a website link puts customers in front of cars on Manheim's Portfolio system. Around 15 carmakers are signed up to Portfolio, the used car remarketing system which stocks around 75,000 late-mileage vehicles.

Richard Hill, Manheim group sales director, says: “We believe the internet is generating up to 70% of enquiries. It's important for dealers to recognise this and alter how they spend their marketing budgets.”

Manheim intends to expand the system to incorporate leasing companies, who could offer their cars to dealers before they go to auction.

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