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Manheim’s Drive for UK success

Manheim is bringing a new auction concept to the UK within the next couple of years that will act as a “showcase of new technology”, according to senior executives.

And it is set to go head-to-head with eBay with the launch of the CyberLot Plus live online bidding facility.

Drive, an automotive remarketing innovation and research centre, opened last year in Atlanta, USA, and acts as a test bed for new processes. The $20m investment is a controlled, cost-effective setting where dealers and manufacturers can give input on the potential uses of emerging technologies in the remarketing business.

Now the company is considering possible locations for a similar facility in the UK. “We want this type of proposition in the UK,” says Manheim group planning and communications director Rob Barr.

“Drive – Development, Research, Innovation, Vision, Excellence – is a showcase for new technology, not just a mechanism to sell cars. It might not be a standalone centre on the scale of the Atlanta operation, but we will take the technology and in-bed it into our existing locations, or replace one of our current sites with this type of facility.”

Manheim is also likely to use the Drive blueprint for a push into mainland Europe.

Drive features biometric fingerprint systems for identification and bidding by dealers, radio frequency identification technology for vehicle tracking, digital photography for online sales and full reconditioning facilities. It also uses the Simulcast online bidding system with touch-screen interface, electronic condition reporting and automated image capture, while bidders sit in a 180-seat cinema-style theatre.

Manheim is lining up an array of new technology, including a relaunched website, which features CyberLot Plus, an eBay -rivalling live bidding facility.

Other key sections include MyAccount, with average prices and watchlists to track favoured vehicles and vendors.

It has also invested £750,000 in RMS, a service which tells VMs, leasing companies and dealers where their cars are in the remarketing pipeline.

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