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O'Neil: Building the auction marketplace of the future

Auction giant looks ahead

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Article Highlights

  1. Physical auto auctions are unlikely to disappear, but their role in vehicle remarketing is shrinking, Cox Automotive COO Mark O'Neil says.
  2. hat has Cox, parent of auction giant Manheim, increasingly focusing on digital auctions and looking for ways to bolster other remarketing revenue streams.
  3. Cox Automotive expects transaction volume for all wholesale auctions to flatten in 2018 and to drop in coming years. At the same time, online attendance at auctions is starting to outpace physical attendance, Manheim executives say.

DETROIT — Physical auto auctions are unlikely to disappear, but their role in vehicle remarketing is shrinking, Cox Automotive COO Mark O’Neil says. That has Cox, parent of auction giant Manheim, increasingly focusing on digital auctions and looking for ways to bolster other remarketing revenue streams.

Cox Automotive expects transaction volume for all wholesale auctions to flatten in 2018 and to drop in coming years. At the same time, online attendance at auctions is starting to outpace physical attendance, Manheim executives say.

It’s unclear when — or even whether — that falloff could lead to the downsizing of physical auctions, O’Neil told journalists last week at a media presentation here. But Cox is developing digital tools to take advantage of the shift. For example, he cited digital listing and selling products such as Manheim Express.

“We do not think there is as big a need to create a physical marketplace as there is to create a digital marketplace,” O’Neil said. “Fewer cars may come to the physical auctions, and fewer people will come to those auctions, but there will still be a marketplace.”

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