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Manheim’s powersports growth spurt continues – July 24, 2006

July 24, 2006
Filed under Features

Manheim’s aggressive buildup of powersports auctions continues with a recent high-profile acquisition and start-up of a new facility.
Atlanta-based Manheim purchased an 86-acre Indianapolis facility from Auction Broadcasting Co. (ABC) toward the end of June and already has held its first auction at the 6-year-old site. The addition of Indianapolis brings the number of Manheim powersports auction sites to 21. That’s after just a year and a half of starting to conduct specialty auctions, which include powersports, RVs and boats.
And the company is far from being done with its expansion efforts. On June 21, Manheim opened an indoor site, a former car auction facility, in Newburgh, N.Y. Karen Braddy, the company’s powersports director, said three more converted car auction sites around the nation could be ready to go by the end of the year and at least one more in 2007.
“We were very glad that we had the opportunity to get it,” Braddy said of the Indianapolis property, which ABC had been trying to sell. “We will continue as a company looking for opportunities like this. I don’t think this will be the last acquisition you will see us do.”
Other converted sites that should open in 2006 include Lakeland, Fla., High Point, N.C., and Tucson, Ariz. Another site in Kansas City, which houses an older indoor facility that will require rebuilding, is expected to be available in 2007.
“We don’t want to saturate the market and we don’t want to grow too quickly,” Braddy said of Manheim. “But there are needs pretty much north, south, east and west. We’ve positioned ourselves to meet those needs.”
Besides enhancing online options, Manheim will not be making any major changes in Indianapolis, Braddy said. The 140 employees that worked with ABC are expected to remain with Manheim. Plus, dealers’ selling and buying fees will remain the same.
“All we want to do is come in and enhance things where we can,” said Braddy, who was working from the Indianapolis site a day before Manheim’s initial auction there on July 12. “We don’t want to change radically anything that exists here.”
That includes the rather large number of powersports dealers that participate online in Indianapolis. Up to 40 percent of the dealers that participated at the ABC auctions did so via the Internet.
“Technology is one of our strong suits,” Braddy said. “It’s an area where we invest a lot of money in to make sure we’re building the robust features that are available.”
Manheim’s Online Vehicle Exchange program provides constant buying opportunities for dealers in two fashions: through a bidding process, much like eBay, or a “buy now” option, which Braddy compared to a classified advertisement. In each case, selling dealers provide condition reports on the vehicles. Manheim also is offering live simulcast airing over the Internet so that dealers can see the different vehicles for sale as they’re being auctioned off.
The ABC acquisition is the third new auction location for Manheim in as many months. In May, Manheim acquired Southwest Florida Auto Auction, Fort Myers, Fla., and purchased Auction City, Inc., Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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