Oct 26th '12

North Toronto Auction says it’s come up with a way to up the sales rate and the prices of vehicles sold at its online auction of Kia Canada’s fleet and buy-back units.

Richard Pasta, Kia Canada’s manager, national fleet sales, says the problem with traditional closed online auction sales is that a majority of the bidding takes place during the last few minutes of the sale. Typically time ends prior to final bids being placed.

“Although we have been experiencing a steady increase in respect to our volume and selling prices, the potential for higher conversion and sales price was ... something we were seeking to improve,” Pasta says in an email.

NTA responded with Autogavel Live Online.

“We’ve incorporated a fresh idea whose roots are in the traditional auction process,” Stu Ralph told Canadian AutoWorld. “We have a live auctioneer in the auction lanes auctioning the vehicles for the people who’ve logged in.”

Ralph explains that NTA’s online auction for Kia Canada and its dealers goes on in the usual way. Kia dealers – this is a Kia dealer only sale – can log in and view the stock. There are “extensive condition reports” and several photos. Then at sales time, they log in.

“A picture of the vehicle comes on the screen and you have a live auctioneer in the auction lanes auctioning the vehicles for the people who’ve logged in. And he’s speaking to the online bidders and encouraging them to bid.”

He says there’s no countdown process – the bidding goes on as long as the bidding is active. Dealers can submit proxy bids ahead of time as well.

“It’s really cool. It’s like being there. You can hear the auctioneer and he’s making motivating comments and advancing the bids. You don’t just see numbers flashing on a screen. You can actually hear him prompting you to bid. It adds to the excitement of buying vehicles.”

To motivate the auctioneer who has to work without the usual crowd of bidders, there are NTA staffers in the ring.

“Whenever there’s a new bid, they give him a hoot and holler as well.”

Ralph says Autogavel Live Online debuted in June and there have been four sales in all.

“The result is that we’ve gone from 80 per cent sold to 99 per cent.”

Pasta agrees. “Our first live online sale in June was a huge success with bidding activity up 36 per cent and an increase to average floor prices by 27 per cent.”

He says feedback from dealers was also positive while technical problems were reduced.

“Together with the new "live online" sale and NTA’s dedicated dealer sales team, we have positively impacted our remarketing goals.”

Ralph says NTA is offering Autogavel Live Online to other OEMs for their closed sales.