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Shopping an Auto Dealer Auction – Thrifty or Risky?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 09/08/2017

If you spend any time online looking for a good deal on a car, you soon notice something obvious. Most dealerships do stick very close to the estimated market values of the cars and trucks they sell. Because of that, most private sellers use those same figures, only adjusting downward a small amount, in order to unload a vehicle they no longer want. These prices are never all that reasonable, and in fact can be quite high. Yet, there is a workaround and that is the auto dealer auction.

Public auctions are one thing, but an auto dealer auction is an entirely different animal. It is something open strictly to licensed dealers, and that means that few bidders are just “in it to win it” and more “in it to save a ton of money on inventory”. Rather than being in the public venue where other buyers are looking for a good price on an often mediocre vehicle, the auto dealer auction options are totally different. In such an auction, you can find cars just coming out of their leases, cars that were repossessed, traded in very early and still in relatively good shape – like the cars and trucks you see on used car lots everywhere.

The Big Question

This brings us back to the major question at the center of this article – is shopping at an auto dealer auction a thrifty move or is it a bit on the risky side? After all, you could easily save thousands on the purchase of a gently used car in an online dealer auction, but you also may not be able to gauge the actual condition of the car. Then, a few days or weeks after buying it, you run into a huge, and costly repair that totally negates your savings.

Is this all that common? To be accurate, it can happen, but this is more the case with public auctions. This is the type of auction in which the risk outbalances the thriftiness of your decision.

You can even the odds, even leaning far more towards thriftiness by using online auto dealer auction auctions. These are open strictly to licensed dealers and because of that, the used stock is going to be a good mix of salvage, gently used and used vehicles.

Not only will your range of options be substantially broader, but at an auto dealer auction, the inventory is typically going to be very accurately and honestly described. You should be able to see an entire gallery of images, discover the status of the title, learn of any mechanical issues or damages, and obtain key data like VIN, mileage and more. With this information, you can run reports, get a good idea of what you are buying, and then make the call.

If you are in the market for a new car, or even considering becoming a dealer yourself, you should explore options for dealer auction websites. They offset risk with quality vehicles that provide a very thrifty way to obtain almost any sort of car or truck.