Press Releases

Looking Forward: An Update from Manheim President Grace Huang
August 2020 (updated 8/25)

It’s been approximately five months since COVID-19 hit and many of us have developed new behaviors. They say it takes roughly 60 days for a behavior to become a habit. For me and my family, hiking has become our new habit as we try to spend more time outdoors. At Manheim, many clients have also formed new habits such as conducting more business digitally. Today, an overwhelming 97% of Manheim buyers are using Simulcast to bid on vehicles. And dealers are telling us they are joining more digital sales at more locations because they can do it safely and easily from their desk or mobile device.

We recently spoke with Jim McAndrew at Mid City McAndrews Motors about how the pandemic changed the way his dealership does business. “When COVID-19 hit, everybody’s world turned upside down. To say we had to make changes is an understatement.” Jim said that while he was already buying cars digitally, selling cars digitally was tough at first, but he got used to it, especially after seeing his online bidders quadruple. Now, he’s not sure if wants to go back to the way it was. “If you’re not changing today, you’ll get left behind.” Who could have imagined that when Simulcast was created roughly 20 years ago, that it would become so vitally important to our industry?

Earlier this month, the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) celebrated National Auto Auction Week, designed to recognize the key role that auctions play within the auto industry, while acknowledging the contributions of employees and clients. During the pandemic, we appreciated the collaboration of NAAA leaders, as we banded together to support each other. And, while auctions, like other industries, have experienced disruption, we’re seeing new opportunities for Manheim to drive innovation and greater efficiencies for clients. For example, we are investing in vehicle information improvements to increase confidence in buying and selling digitally. This includes:

  • Offering a standard set of at least 15 images – up from 7 images – for all vehicles checked in at a Manheim location for sale. This has been a top request from our dealers.
  • Increasing Condition Report quality audits and expanding training for inspectors
  • Providing dealers the opportunity to easily transact at below-floor prices through OVE’s new Review Window. If a vehicle has bids below the floor price, a two-hour window will open at the end of the sale where sellers can review bids and decide whether to close the deal with the highest bidder.
  • Conducting undercarriage image testing to show top to bottom vehicle condition.

In addition to these activities, below are some operational updates:

  • With positive feedback from dealers about in-lane bidding (also known as Digital Block™ sales) at 37 Manheim sites, we added 6 more this week. Digital Block sales are held at physical auctions using Simulcast. While vehicles do not physically move across the block, images are displayed on-screen and buyers can bid standing in-lane.
  • Lot Vision, our vehicle tracking technology, is now available at 19 locations, helping dealers find vehicles faster. 
  • All Manheim sites now offer expanded viewing days and times for clients.
  • While sellers can represent their vehicles on the block at Manheim sites, our Simulcast Remote Seller usage has grown by over 40% since the switch to digital-only sales.

Manheim will continue to offer dealer support by: 

  • Waiving Simulcast buyer and seller success fees
  • Providing clients complimentary access to Central Dispatch for 30 days
  • Offering resources such as mymanheim.com/covid19/ and the Manheim Learning Center to keep dealers updated on Manheim operations and ways to learn more about Manheim’s solutions.

We’ve experienced extraordinary highs and lows over the past five months, including historic collapses in vehicle demand and complete reversals in a matter of weeks. We’ve seen the steepest decline of resale values ever recorded followed by the fastest rise on record. While much uncertainty remains, our industry seems to have formed a habit of strength and resiliency. I would have expected nothing less.

Stay healthy and be safe,

Grace Huang
President, Manheim