Is buying a car through a dealer auction still a good value?

Home Forums General Discussion Is buying a car through a dealer auction still a good value?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  edsnova 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    Back in the early 2000s, I bought a sports car by paying a dealer to take me to a Manheim auction, picking the price limit for the car he would bid on, and then paying him a flat fee above the auction price and Manheim auction fee. I paid about $10k less than what a dealer would charge for a car on his lot. I did that again for a sedan some 10 years later and again came out ahead.

    I’m now in the market again for a car, but in interviewing various proxy dealers (dealers who provide this service for a flat fee), it seems that by the time I pay the dealer his fee (often over $1,000), pay the Manheim fee (several hundred dollars), and pay the vehicle’s auction price, I’m faring no better than what I would pay to CarMax, TrueCar, etc. In my state, any used vehicle purchase is subject to an ad valorem fee. So, I don’t save by buying from an individual.

    Just wondering if folks feel the same way or is there some better way to save a few bucks!





    I didn’t find the right solution from the internet.

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    There are probably a thousand different answers to this question. And reading between the lines, I think you answered your own question. 🙂

    It can be a good value. You can also hugely overpay. (I take no credit for stating the obvious! LOL!)

    You need to know reasonable market values for the vehicle you are bidding on; and have a maximum bid in mind that you stick to (accounting for the purchase price and all auction fees)! Don’t get caught up in the adrenaline rush of the auction process.

    With the finances under control, I think the biggest risk is that only a visual inspection is possible. You will not have the opportunity to drive the vehicle or have it inspected by a mechanic as you would with a private purchase. That’s pretty close to  buying the car blind.

    Paul Mossberg
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    I don’t understand what the dealer’s purpose is in this scenario. He charges $1,000 to make your bid? Why not just go to the auction and buy the car yourself?

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