Manheim Introduces In-Lane Bidding At Two Texas Locations

Since early in the pandemic, Manheim auctions have been running Simulcast-only. 

Since early in the pandemic, Manheim auctions have been running Simulcast-only. However, this week, Manheim introduced in-lane bidding at five pilot locations. Manheim Dallas and Dallas Fort Worth are the first two auctions to transition to a Digital Block sale format in Texas. TIADA sat down with the VP of Manheim Digital and the General Manager of Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth to learn more about some of the changes dealers can expect at these pilot locations with the new format in place.

What is Digital Block Format?

Zach Hallowell, VP of Manheim Digital explained that a digital block refers to a sale where the auction block is in operation as normal with a live auctioneer and bidders that can bid around the block. The only difference is that the vehicles are not run across the block. 

Manheim first introduced digital block sales in May of 2019 in Tucson. Given the response, Hallowell says Manheim started expanding this format to other locations. “And, of course, when the COVID crisis hits, we had to move to all digital sales for a while.” With the introduction of the digital block sale format, Simulcast is still available and an option to dealers. 

For Dealers Planning a Trip to a Pilot Location

TIADA visited with Nicole Graham-Ponce, General Manager of Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth who outlined some of the measures her pilot location has implemented. “So I will tell you with this format, the number one priority is the health of our clients and team members, so with COVID still very prevalent especially in Texas, we want to make sure we keep everyone safe and healthy.” 

Upon Arrival:

Graham-Ponce says one of the most important things for dealers to remember is to bring a face mask or covering. Facial coverings are required for entry. The auction encourages dealers to arrive early as they will be asked to complete a brief COVID-19 Related Access Form (CRAF) prior to entry. The form can be completed from your vehicle and asks you to enter a few COVID-specific questions. More information regarding the CRAF can be found here

Upon completing the form, dealers immediately receive a text indicating they have been approved. At that point, they can walk in with their facial covering on, show the text to the security guard indicating they've been approved, and they're immediately granted access to the building. 

Upon Entry: 

Upon entering the building, dealers can proceed to the kiosk, scan their auction access card, receive their bidder badge, and then they can head to the arena and preview inventory. 

Dealers can expect the auction to look a little different. The lobby is structured to control traffic from the front doors to the arena doors. “There is one designated entrance and exit. A kiosk is set up in the lobby instead of the dealer lounge and all other areas are closed,” added Graham-Ponce. Some of the areas that are not accessible at this time at the Dallas-Fort Worth location include the building's cafeteria, restrooms, hallways leading to dealer services and arbitration among other areas.

During the Sale: 

When the sale starts, the cars won't be crossing the block. Ponce-Graham says the vehicles are still being sold in a digital format, which means they're up on the screen, but bidders may stand in the lane and bid with those on Simulcast just like prior to COVID-19. “Markers have been placed on the floor six feet apart and six feet away from the block to keep everybody safe and healthy, so we don't have everyone congregating elbow to elbow,” she added.

Additional details on how to prepare for an on-site visit to one of the pilot locations can be found in this Auction Update (June 4, 2020).

Previewing Vehicles:

Dealers can preview vehicles up to a day or two prior to the sale (view on-site preview inventory schedule). To help speed up the process for previewing vehicles, some have turned to Lot Vision, which is designed to help locate inventory at the auctions. Upon entering VIN numbers, dealers can see how far the vehicle is from where they are and help guide them to it.  “Lot Vision was extremely helpful during COVID where inventory stopped leaving and inventory kept coming in,” says Ponce-Graham.

Are there plans to open additional pilot locations?

Manheim told TIADA that there is a rollout schedule that is largely based on the feedback from these pilot locations and pandemic levels.  “It's certainly a day by day assessment at this point,” added Hallowell.

Regarding the new format and future rollouts, Hallowell stressed Manheim's focus on safety: “We're trying take progressive steps to bring back capabilities that dealers are comfortable with where it's safe to do so. Where it's not, we do have all the digital tools to allow them to do really all of the same work from the comfort and safety of their offices or home. We're really trying to do this thoughtfully with our customers in mind. It's no small task. It's a lot of work behind the scenes getting ready for this point. We don't take it lightly.”


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