Auction Service Wants to be an Ally for RV Dealers
RV dealers wanting to buy and sell used inventory online now have an additional option, SmartAuction, by Ally Financial.
Ally, formerly known as GMAC Financial and previously a division of General Motors, has been wholesale auctioning vehicles (primarily cars and trucks) online since 2000. However, in the past year Ally has added more RVs to its mix and stepped up efforts to recruit RV dealers. The financial company used the recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., to promote SmartAuction to dealers.
A number of established regional and national auction houses already serve the RV market. However, Ally’s service has a number of potential advantages that make it worthwhile for dealers to consider, according to Dave McCarthy, national marketing manager for Ally Remarketing, which operates SmartAuction.
One key advantage, McCarthy says, is frequency: SmartAuction runs daily, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.S.T. That gives buyers many more opportunities to search for inventory compared to other auction houses that host events once or twice a month.
The size of inventory offered also is a selling point: This year dealers and consigners are expected to sell some 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada using SmartAuction, according to McCarthy. On an average day for SmartAuction, some 16,000 vehicles will be up for auction, and between 1,500 and 2,000 units will be sold, he says.
McCarthy says Ally has a robust group of roughly 10,000 dealer and consigner buyers, of whom an average of 4,000 will be online on SmartAuction on any given day looking for units to purchase. The large volume of buyers means that units tend to turn fairly quickly, he says.
Ease of use of the SmartAuction system is another key selling point, according to McCarthy. The system is intuitive and includes functions that allow buyers to set their search criteria broadly or narrowly, set up alerts for specific units, and even calculate any shipping costs, he says.
Other advantages to using SmartAuction, according to McCarthy, are that Ally guarantees payment once a unit sells and that it has an established arbitration process if an issue ever arises between a buyer and seller. He notes that SmartAuction has a sellers’ ratings system that’s weighted on the number of units sellers have posted and sold.
SmartAuction’s inventory comes from a mix of sources, including repossessions, rental vehicles and dealer-owned units. In the case of dealer-owned units, the dealership is generally selling the vehicle as part of a plan to keep its inventory fresh and possibly reduce expenditures, McCarthy says.
While RVs and boats represent a fraction of the total units sold on SmartAuction, McCarthy says the number is constantly growing. And he notes that RV dealers can use SmartAuction to purchase any vehicle on the site, which could potentially help them sell a trailer and pickup as a package deal, for example. Likewise, automotive dealers can buy RVs and boats, which increases the number of buyers for any units at auction.
To promote its services to RV dealers, Ally is currently offering a promotion until March 31, 2012, in which it will reimburse RV dealers for “buy” and “sell” transaction fees on SmartAuction. (Normally the fees are $100 for anyone selling a vehicle; buyers pay a fee that ranges from $175 to a maximum of $495, depending upon the unit purchase price.)
There is one caveat to using SmartAuction: Dealers must offer Ally retail financing in order to make use of the service. McCarthy says that gives added credibility to the system, because as part of the process dealers undergo a credit review and are assigned a daily spending limit for the auction service.
For more information SmartAuction, visit www.smartauction.biz or call 877-273-5572.