Fifteen years ago, skeptics said no one would buy a vehicle at an online wholesale auction, says Grace Huang, president-inventory solutions for the Manheim auto auction chain.

Today, dealers regularly participate in Internet auctions. A sign of that digital movement’s progress (and the technology that enables it) is the impending summer launch of Manheim Express, a mobile app for dealers.

It allows them to use their smartphones to list and sell inventory right from their lots – or anywhere else, for that matter. A VIN scan automatically loads vehicle information.

Huang calls it “a whole new way to do business.” She cites two particular highlights associated with Manheim Express:

  • Manheim is offering the industry’s only wholesale guaranteed first bid. A minimum floor price is set using market data. If the inventory does not sell for the minimum price or more after being listed in the Manheim Marketplace for 48 hours, Manheim will buy the vehicle.
  • By shooting a series of recommended walk-around photos of a vehicle, dealers can create 360-degree imagery that uploads within three minutes. Manheim is partnering with computer-vision company Fyusion to create interactive 3-D images – and apply smart tags to any damaged areas in seconds. That helps the full-disclosure cause, says Derek Hansen, a Manheim vice president.  

“Our products are focused on creating intelligent 3-D imaging,” says Fyusion CEO Radu Rusu, adding they are viewable on phones, computer tablets and desktops.

After the VIN scan, dealers immediately are presented the vehicle’s value from Manheim Market Report, AutoCheck Snapshot vehicle-history report data and manufacturer data (where available).

This information gives dealers the necessary information to make informed decisions on, say, taking vehicles in on trade, Huang says.

Manheim research indicates vehicles with a condition report from an independent inspector are three more times likely to sell online. From the app, dealers can order a condition report and an inspector will go to their lot within 72 hours.

If a dealer prefers to not sell the vehicle in any of the Manheim Digital Marketplaces, dealers can send their inventory to the Manheim operating location of their choice via Manheim Express.

“Manheim Express is another example of how Manheim continues revolutionizing inventory wholesaling,” Huang says.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com