Vehicle remarketing is often described first and foremost as a “relationship business.” Manheim’s move into its new California Service Center in Riverside, Calif., is a textbook example of this description.
During his opening statements at the center’s dedication ceremony, Manheim Riverside General Manager Christopher Brown noted that Manheim is a “proud member of the Riverside community. The City really has been a part of this project.”
The new center houses Volkswagen Credit (VCI)/Audi Financial Services (AFS) Technical Operations Center, Manheim’s Employee Service Center West, and other support services for customers in the Southern California market. The support and technical teams moved into the new 89,000-square-foot facility, the former West Coast printing facility for the Wall Street Journal in November.
Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey set the theme for Manheim’s success in transforming the old printing plant as part of its existing auction facility, and, in turn, coined a motto for the entire remarketing industry. “This project shows the power of partnerships and relationships,” he said. “Who would have thought the old Wall Street Journal printing plant could become this.”
The project, which was six years in the making, will not only give the technical and service teams a new home, the adjoining auction picked up more than 2,000 additional parking spaces and 22 more 10-car hauler spots, bringing the total to 32.
Increasing Capacity and Efficiency
The new service center occupies 27 of the 160 total acres that it shares with the adjoining Manheim Riverside, a wholesale vehicle auction operation; one of six auctions the company has in California. Manheim Riverside employs about 300 people.
The Employee Service Center West’s team of 55 supports 6,500 employees across the Western half of the U.S.
The center also features a conference room area where auctions can be observed via simulcast and staff training can be held.
The building also includes more than 10,000-square-feet of dedicated motorcycle storage space for BMW sales events.
The building’s industrial roots were in evidence during the dedication, and Manheim put them to good use turning what had once been a loading bay into the perfect venue to display some of the high-end vehicles awaiting auction.
In normal circumstances, Brown explained the space will be used to inspect vehicles prior to auction.
Each vehicle will pass through the space, be issued a condition report, and then will be rolled into one of Manheim Riverside’s 10 lanes.
The auction also has a paint and body shop, a full mechanical shop and reconditioning and detail facility. Manheim Riverside’s body shop, detail shop, and mechanical shops occupy more than 80,000 square feet and have the capability of processing over 500 vehicles weekly.
The auction offers between 1,700 and 3,200 vehicles each week for sale to independent and franchised car dealers.
A Business Wrapped Inside a Business
As noted, VCI/AFS operations share the building, and occupy 16,000 square feet, more than eight times the size of its prior home in Manheim Riverside.
“We’re a small piece of what this is, but we’re glad to be a part of it,” said Mark Ilijanic, GM, dealer remarketing for VCI/AFS, in his remarks during the dedication. “This is a shining example of our partnership with Manheim.”
The new center also features one of two buyback centers used by VCI and AFS in North America. The other buyback center is at Manheim’s flagship auction in Manheim, Pa.
VCI/AFS operations performs everything from minor mechanical and cosmetic repairs to major component repairs. The new facility includes 19 bays with 19 mechanical lifts (this more than doubles its previous bay and lift capacity of eight each).
The center is sustainable, operating using environmentally conscious practices, including in its four car paint booths and two car paint shop.
Having more space also means the VCI/AFS operations center can handle more capacity. In its old facility, it handled about 125 vehicles per week. In the new one it is expected that the capacity will be more than doubled to between 250 and 300 vehicles per week.
Being a Good Corporate Neighbor
Manheim has been a member of the Riverside community for the last quarter century. During that time it has shown itself to be a benefit to the City economically.
Riverside Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Cindy Roth, who began her tenure at the Chamber in 1988 — the same year Manheim moved into the City — noted that the Manheim auction attracts about $40 million per year to the local economy.
During the dedication, Manheim received certificates of appreciation from the California State Assembly and Senate.
For Manheim, being a good corporate neighbor begins with another motto, this one belonging to parent Cox Enterprises, noted Janet Barnard, EVP and COO for Manheim.
“Before we start anything we always think of the Cox motto: ‘Is this right?’ ” she said. “Our goal at Manheim is to continue to invest in solutions that benefit our customers and services that support our employees. The California Service Center is a great example of that. We are helping our customers win by meeting their growing business needs, while planning for the future of our company and the industry.”