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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auction Prices

Automotive News (Per statistics provided by Crain) ranks the top 150 automotive dealership groups based in the United Sates.

In 2015, this study ranked Jeff Wyler Automotive Family Inc. as the 39th largest car dealership group in the United States.

In 2014, Wyler sold 42,021 units through 16 dealerships (115 vehicles per day,) with gross revenue at just over 1 Billion ($1,006,144,885.00.) For context, only 12 dealership groups in the United States in 2014 grossed over 2 Billion in sales and #150 on the list sold 11,397 units through 13 dealerships (31 vehicles per day,) with gross revenue about $252 Million.

I drive by Wyler Chevrolet (Columbus, Ohio) when I travel from my home to the office. Above is a sign which has been out front of the dealership for about a week. Apparently, Jeff is selling cars at auction prices and these cars are available to the public.

This sign address two common perceptions: 1. Auction prices represent possible discounts. 2. Car auctions (where you can get these discounts) are not generally open to the public.

Jeff Wyler wants the public to think he’s offering discounts which are otherwise unavailable. Yes, some car auctions offer discounts and some car auctions are not open to the public. Here, I’m guessing all you have to do is turn in and talk to one of his salespersons?

There is no question that the word, “Auction” nearly compels attention. There is no question that most people are induced by the possibility of getting a deal; we coined the phrase “prospect of a deal” years ago as the primary driver to auctions. In fact, some are inspired by the possible deal almost regardless of the prize.

We run a weekly auction house near Wyler’s Columbus location, and one of our regular buyers was in attendance as usual the other night. She purchased some jewelry, pottery, a coin and a bedroom suite. I remember asking her what she was looking for one evening several years ago — her reply? “Anything I can buy and flip … anything.”

The Internet has truly changed the game of buying and selling in the world, and the mindset of a majority of people around the world. Buying has certainly changed, but selling has changed materially because almost anyone can offer property on the Internet to a worldwide marketplace.

Prior to electronic commerce, a bank executive would maybe work weekends either buying items or minding a space in an antique mall — a commercial plumber might work weekends and evenings buying cars with the intent to resell for a profit. A secretary at a law office would scour newspaper classifieds for auctions and items for sale so she could resell in her antique store.

Today — with the Internet — almost everyone is familiar with buying to resell and the concepts of value, price and the market. It’s rare in any business anywhere in the United States that employees are not discussing with each other how to find personal or real property which can be bought and resold for a profit.

And that’s the key ingredient in making a profit: buying right (buying low enough) to realize a gain. People for centuries have sought out deals — but in the last 20 years, this mindset has grown exponentially.

Jeff Wyler is right to suggest you might get a deal at his dealership as this drives customers. Similarly, auctioneers are equally right to suggest you might get a deal to drive people to those auctions and the word auction (in most cases) intrinsically proposes that.

In fact, apparently all a car dealer has to do is mention the words, “Auction Prices” and he gets attention, even if he’s not having an auction; the word “auction” is just that powerful and auction marketing is just that persuasive.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.

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