Vehicle Review: A handful are already used in some fleets.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A typical vehicle auction involves a lot of physical labor, not just from the hosts setting it up, but the buyers who have to see all the vehicles first and then make sure they are in the right place at the right time to bid.
Virginia operator and bus dealer Dan Goff has found a way to do it all from your desktop or smartphone. His company, SuperMax Motors of Charlottesville, Va., launches a monthly series of auctions today that ease the transactions for buyers and sellers.
Auction bidding at www.motorcoachsale.com is scheduled to start Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 1:01 p.m. ET and run to 1:01 p.m. ET on Oct. 8. An inventory of 134+ livery fleet vehicles — mostly motorcoaches — will be available in at least eight cities and towns. Each vehicle is listed online with mutliple large photos and detailed spec information.
Sellers include motorcoach and chauffeured transportation operators, vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, finance companies, and private owners. Eligible vehicles can range from sedans to full-size 56+ passenger motorcoaches.
What is the lowest starting bid? $7 for this 1988 MCI 102 motorcoach with mileage that extends well into the seven figures.
“What I’ve seen from auctions is both parties, buyers and seller, can get better deals than they can privately because of the exposure,” says Goff, owner of SuperMax Motors and A. Goff Transportation, also of Charlottesville. “It’s all about motivation. If somebody wants it gone now, they will sell at auction. If 200 people are looking at a bus online, it’s much better than them visiting it over a few months. Both sides win when you introduce an efficient marketplace.”
Sellers simply register a vehicle with a starting price and a non-visible approval price. If the bid meets or exceeds the starting price, the vehicle sells. If it falls below the list price but remains above the approval price, then the seller has the option to approve the sale.
There is no upfront cost to the seller to list the vehicle and SuperMax Motors gets a “success fee” of 5% to 15% on a completed sale, depending on the value of the vehicle. The only follow-up related cost for the seller is to provide the three-hour fee for an attendant who can handle the onsite buyer inspection of the vehicle. The buyer has to pay the costs of traveling to the inspection.
Buyers who cast the winning bid on a vehicle must make a $1,000 deposit and then are allowed up to 21 days to arrange financing. If the deal fails to close, the buyer can apply the non-refundable deposit toward a future auction bid or a vehicle purchase through SuperMax Motors. Meanwhile, the seller can continue to use the sold vehicle in a fleet until the buyer is ready to complete the transaction and pick up the vehicle.
Related LCT video: How Dan Goff Profits From Motorcoaches
SuperMax closes all the bidding at the same time instead of staggering start and end times. "If there are multiple bids on a vehicle before auction closing time, the auctioneers will extend the bidding time for that vehicle by five minutes. We don’t want buyers sitting in front of a screen for four hours waiting for the auction to end,” Goff said.
Goff emphasized the auction will abide by complete confidentiality without any public disclosures on sellers, buyers, final sale prices, gross dollar volume, or number of vehicles sold. “All information will be kept private so participants never have to worry. If people want to publicize a purchase or sale themselves, there’s no restriction on that.”
Goff characterizes his event as the first non-liquidation vehicle auction for the luxury ground transportation industry. Unlike a liquidation auction, the vehicles listed are more likely to have been maintained and kept up.
“Inventory is what makes the auction, not the buyers,” Goff said. “We want to make it seamless for the sellers. This is all about creating a market for people in the livery business which encourages sales.”
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