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FOCUS – Auction Company Plans Fast Track Growth

March 16, 2005
Filed under Features

INDIANAPOLIS — Selling repossessed motorcycles doesn’t sound like much of a business, unless, of course, you build it into a national operation, buy out your major competitor, service most of the major finance companies, add consignment service for dealers, and toss in web-based bidding capability.
Then, perhaps, you have something worth talking about. And that, in a nutshell, is what National Powersport Auctions (NPA), based in San Diego, Calif., is all about.
Justyn Amstutz, NPA’s newly-minted executive vice president of sales, is one of a handful of hires added to the corporate team recently.

WEB-BASED AUCTION BIDDING
One of the 21st Century innovations NPA is developing is a “simulcast auction,” slated to be offered this month.
“A dealer can sit in his office, as long as he’s pre-registered,” says Amstutz, “and actively bid on the Internet against guys on the floor. He no longer has to leave the comfort of his office to bid.”
While the service is new for powersports, it’s not new in the car industry, where it’s been offered for several years.
The process is simple for a dealer to use. He just registers with NPA, logs on the Web site and downloads a simple piece of software. Then, he can review products and the condition report on each item in the upcoming auction.
At auction time, he logs on with his User ID and password and prepares to bid. Once he’s logged on, the dealer can hear an audio stream in real time. If he wants to make a bid, he hits the Bid button on the screen and makes his offer.
The dealer will hear his bid called out in real time by the auctioneer. Say, for example, someone on the floor makes a bid of $4,500, and you want to bid $4,600 from your office. You’ll hear the auctioneer call you, “Internet bid of $4,600.”
There’s no charge for a dealer to log in and participate. If he does buy a unit via Simulcast, there’s an extra $20 charge, over and above the normal fees. However, the Simulcast fee is being waived this year, said Amstutz.

CONSIGNMENT SERVICE OFFERED
Also new this year is a consignment service through which dealers can clear out used inventory. Historically, NPA has been strictly a n auction for repossessed machines.
“This is a great inventory management tool for the dealer,” says Amstutz. “Especially, for the Harley dealer, for example, who doesn’t normally take metrics (in trade). They have turned away a lot of business in the last several years.”
Like it has with the Simulcast program, NPA has made the process quite simple. A registered dealer can check prices over the phone and send in an assignment form by FAX or email.
“He can absolutely just call us when he’s considering a trade,” says Amstutz. The dealer simply provides make, model and mileage and NPA can provide an actual cash value estimate
(ACV) immediately.

A BIT OF HISTORY
Founded in 1989 in San Diego by a group of motorcycle dealership owners as a way to move their used motorcycle inventory, NPA now runs three locations.
Operating out of three facilities, located in San Diego, Dallas and Atlanta, NPA holds one auction each month at each site. Auctions are held on the first Friday of each month in San Diego, the second Friday in Dallas and the third Friday in Atlanta.
Atlanta is the largest facility, at about 115,000 sq. ft., and NPA moves about 2,000 units through it each auction. San Diego and Dallas add another 2,000 to 3,000 units each month. Amstutz says NPA expects to move into a larger Atlanta facility within the next few months. It’s also looking for possible locations farther north, in the Midwest.
NPA picked up the Dallas facility when it acquired Vehicles In Motion Corp. last August.
NPA seems to be well positioned for success. According to Amstutz, the company has more than 500 dealers across the country participating as sellers.
It also works closely with Honda, Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, GE and Household Finance. “We sell 100% of the repos from Honda, Harley, GE and Household,” says Amstutz. NPA claims 94% market share of repossessions in the powersports industry.
And the business doesn’t show any indications of slowing down, he says. “It’s an aggressive marketplace. Harley (finance) had a record year in 2004. Honda and Yamaha continue to be aggressive in the marketplace. GE continues to be aggressive. And the finance companies and largest banks are buying more paper.”

A FINAL NOTE
As a first time exhibitor, Amstutz was impressed with the Dealer Expo. “It was exceptional,” he says. “It was highly beneficial. We came away with just under 400 qualified leads.”
For more information, call Becky Cook at 888/292-5339 or check the NPA Web site at npauctions.com.

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