As the Northeast region deals with what the Weather Channel has called Winter Storm Decima, certain trends at auctions across the nation remain consistent with locations in the region, such as the popularity of trucks and a decline in activity at auction as the result of the holidays.
Peter Saldamarco, president of Central Auto Auction, which is located in Hamden, Conn., said activity was strong at his auction through the months September, October, and the beginning of November. However, activity near the end of November started to peter off during the week of Thanksgiving.
“Generally speaking, anytime there’s a holiday in that week or period of time, its one day less of business. And it’s one day less where vehicles are going to make their way to the auction. Holidays are never good in terms of volume at a car auction,” he said.
Saldamarco said that, overall, November was a typical month at his auction, and remained consistent in terms of volume and type of consignment it has seen in the last few years The auction runs approximately 400 units a week, which is broken down to 60% dealer consigned vehicles, 20% donation vehicles, and 20% commercial vehicles. The auction's sales percentage is approximately 65%. He also noted that consignment at his auction has increased about 10% due to the growth of the auction.
He said the holiday trend of slowing down will continue through parts of December heading into Christmas, which mirrors some of the trends that are seen in November.
“It’s similar because you have Thanksgiving, you have that long weekend and that kind of disrupts the operation. So if it disrupts 10% or 15% (of sales) for that week, it disrupts the month, in that sense,” he said. “Our auction is on Tuesday so we may be affected a little less, but anybody who has a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday auction is not good.”
America’s Auto Auction Harrisburg, located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., is one such auction that has to deal with rearranging scheduling as it holds an auction every Thursday.
“Normally those first couple of weeks tend to be a little stronger because of Thanksgiving at the end of the month,” said Clint Weaver, assistant GM for America’s Auto Auction. “Our sale falls on a Thursday, so that week every year we move our sale, which is a bit of a challenge, to keep everything normal when you move your day and your competing with auctions running on their normal sale day,” he said. “So we did see a tough week that week.”
Consignment for America’s Auto Auction was down volume-wise in November, Weaver said. He said the auction would normally run about 1,600 vehicles a week, which breaks down to 1,200 dealer consigned units and 400 fleet, lease, and repo unit. The auction, which is dealer only, typically see a 60% sales percentage each week.
He said that people taking days off and vacationing during this time tend to slow things down at auction. However, Weaver said following the end of November, the first week in December was strong.
During this time of year, Weaver said the units that tend to attract the most bidders are typically four-wheel-drive vehicles and pickup trucks due to the conditions of the Harrisburg, Pa., region. Saldamarco said that SUV's and light-duty truck were particularly strong in sales for the month of November at Central Auto Auction.
Indeed, a series of cold fronts are expected to bring single-digit temperatures, chilly winds, icy rain and possibly snow to Pennsylvania this week, according to a report from AccuWeather.
Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series that goes beyond the numbers to provide a snapshot of market conditions in the vehicle remarketing industry in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountain and Pacific regions. The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.