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Online Auction Sales Reflect Demand For Used Vehicles

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Troy-based SmartAuction, the online auto auction for auto dealers run by Ally Financial (formerly GMAC) reports a shortage of high-quality used vehicles and increasing demand for its services.

SmartAuction Wednesday reported a nearly 14 percent increase in dealer-to-dealer online wholesale transactions in the United States for the first six months of 2010 compared to the first six months last year.

According to the National Auto Auction Association’s latest Auction Industry Report, wholesale transactions of dealer-owned vehicles were up 6.9 percent across the industry.

“As a barometer of the used vehicle market, the increase in SmartAuction online postings and sales among U.S. dealers shows the heat is still on to find quality vehicles within the shrinking inventory of the wholesale market,” said Mark Newman, SmartAuction managing director. “Dealer-owned vehicles now comprise a majority of the more than 12,000 daily postings on SmartAuction, and our active dealer body now stands at more than 10,000, up from approximately 7,000 dealers at the beginning of 2009.”

In addition to the sizable increases in SmartAuction’s active dealer base, average monthly postings per dealer are more than double what they were last year.

Newman credits several recent enhancements for increased dealer transactions on SmartAuction: greater diversification of vehicle inventory with the addition of more than 1,500 Chrysler dealers; a new dedicated call center to better serve both buyer and consignor needs; and significant improvements in the critical arbitration processes to improve dealer confidence in online used vehicle auction purchases.

In addition to the U.S. online auction growth, SmartAuction has recorded a nearly 45 percent increase in transactions in Canada, as well as 76 percent growth with its SmartAuction Midstream program which provides online auction capability to approximately 100 key independent physical auctions in the United States.

In total, almost 260,000 units have been transacted by all consignors on SmartAuction through the first half of the year in the United States and Canada. In 2009, SmartAuction recorded a total of 520,000 transactions in the two countries for the full year.

“In the current economy, every business needs to maximize its resources,” Newman said. “Dealers who use SmartAuction can efficiently buy and sell wholesale vehicles via a trusted online channel with a track record for results. We value our deep relationships with our General Motors and Chrysler dealers but welcome all franchise and independent dealers to become part of the robust online trade on SmartAuction.”

Launched in 2000, more than 3.4 million vehicles have been sold through SmartAuction since its inception. In 2009, approximately 440,000 units were sold in the United States on SmartAuction representing 45 different vehicle makes. With more than 10,000 registered SmartAuction users, more than 4,000 franchise and non-franchise dealers log in daily to SmartAuction. For more information about SmartAuction visit www.smartauction.biz.

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