Dealer-to-dealer sales website positioned as 'auction alternative'

Publish Date: 
Feb 26, 2013
By Holly J. Wagner

VERONA, Wis. – Dealers looking for a way to bulk up on pre-owned vehicles have a new option.

Simms Motorsports Marketing owner Jon Simms in January launched, a dealer-to-dealer marketplace for used vehicles.

Dealers can register on the site for free. They must provide documentation that they are dealerships and the registration is tied to the store, not an individual. So far, 47 have signed up, according to the company.

Simms is positioning the site, a licensed Wisconsin wholesale dealer, as an “auction alternative,” and many of the benefits are the same – extended reach, improved liquidity, keeping inventory to meet local or seasonal demands.

“There’s a fair number of dealers out there that don’t go to auctions. They don’t like auctions and don’t want to participate in auctions. I don’t know why,” Simms said. “Because of that, a fair number are not getting into used vehicles. They don’t seem to be pursuing the used end of the business.”

Their auction-shyness is his opportunity, he said. The site will charge a percentage of the sales price as a transaction fee once it catches on. For now, Simms is waiving transaction fees for the first six months for new signups. After hitting a membership target, he said he expects to shorten the period to three months, then offer 30 days of free transactions for new members indefinitely after hitting another milestone.

Once registered, dealers enter their own vehicle information and provide photos. Potential buyers can look through the vehicle listings, which include thumbnail photos that enlarge to full-screen, a condition report, asking price, list of aftermarket add-ons, the original MSRP and current auction, wholesale and retail prices gleaned from NADAGuides, Black Book and recent auction results. The service also sends email bulletins to potential buyers, who check off boxes for vehicles of interest when they register.

The shopper can click one button to buy at the asking price or another to make an offer. The offers go by email to WholesaleVehicleMarket, which forwards all offers to the sellers. Sellers can make counteroffers if they like, at which point Simms moves to facilitate the negotiation by phone.

Buyers are notified if offers are accepted, declined or countered. If the sale happens, buyers are responsible for transporting the vehicles. (continued)