Fleet News

Award-winner’s profile: Manheim Auctions

IT is difficult to believe that remarketing giant Manheim Auctions only launched in the UK nine years ago.

The group has surged in size during this period, climbing from an initial two auction centres in 1996 to national coverage of 19 in 2005 and this exponential growth has led the company to embrace new ideas and technologies supporting fleets throughout the remarketing process.

One of the reasons Manheim has become such a success in the UK is that it has the knowledge and resources of its parent company.

Many fleets tend to forget though that Manheim is part of an even bigger picture. It is a subsidiary of US-based Cox Enterprises which has 34,200 employees in 10 countries around the world. As part of Manheim Inc, Manheim in the UK is part of annual global sales of five million vehicles.

John Bailey, Manheim’s chief executive, said: ‘We have got our parent company doing similar things in the US and we can look at what they’re doing and work in tandem with them.’

The service and delivery of its products in the UK helped Manheim secure the title of Best Disposal/Remarketing Company at this year’s Fleet News Awards.

Working with fleets has been an educational process for Manheim, with both parties learning from each other. Bailey said: ‘We have learnt lessons over the years as the remarketing part of the business has moved forward. It is easy to put cars through auction but fleets need input and help from us to improve residual values.

‘We have managed to persuade fleets it is better to take vehicles to market in a better condition so more are now recognising that they should invest in preparation. Fleets have also now recognised that remarketing is not the back end of a process – it is a consultative process which is key to their business.’

Winning the Fleet News Award came as a surprise to the group and Bailey modestly attributes the accolade to his staff.

He said: ‘When we won I was very enthusiastic for the people at Manheim who put a lot of work into the presentation and business over the last few years.

‘The services and culture we produce are all about the people working here. The elation of the staff right through the organisation was tremendous – the whole company is proud.’

Bailey praised the thoroughness of the judging panel. ‘We were not judged on history but the range of products and services we have developed as well as customer retention and access to information.’

The judges cited the group’s Manheim 360 package of remarketing services as a factor for clinching the award. The package includes more than 30 stand-alone services joined together to complete the remarketing process.

Fleets have access to defleeting, pre-remarketing including preparation, remarketing, retail selling and support services.

However, the group refuses to stand still, with a host of initiatives including a new website planned for this year which, it says, will ‘act as a key interactive communications mechanism and the access point for customers’.

Bailey said: ‘It is an ongoing process but this year we will continue to broaden our offering to fleets.’

Fleets can expect to see a new half-a-million-pound communication system, which will manage Manheim’s customer contact with buyers and sellers.

Facts fleets may not know about Manheim

  • Manheim auction sites cover more than 200 acres of land in the UK
  • Manheim sells £22 billion worth of cars each year in the USA
  • Manheim’s UK cafes sold more than 500,000 cups of tea and coffee in 2004
  • The most expensive item sold by Manheim was a £266,000 Liebherr crane earlier this year
  • Manheim Colchester, at over 52 acres, is officially Europe’s largest single auction site
  • Manheim is the world’s largest auction company employing 32,000 people at its 124 sites around the world
  • Manheim’s transport department manages the collection and delivery of 300,000 vehicles each year
  • If all 500,000 cars and vans Manheim offered for sale in 2004 were lined up, they would stretch 10 times round the M25

    What the judges said

    A truly historic win in a category that has become increasingly closely fought over the past few years.

    This year’s competition was an intense battle, with a ‘shortlist’ of services and developments from the main competitors – BCA and Manheim – reaching to more than seven pages. But Manheim Europe finally seized first place, for its newly-launched Manheim 360 packaged service, customer retention, statistical evidence of service improvements over the past year, its vast array of services, national network, growing European operations and its developments in the arena of online sales.

    Backed by the largest remarketing company in the world, and a senior team with 192 years of experience in the remarketing business, it has achieved its stated aim this year of being named ‘best in class’.

    John Bailey: profile

  • 1979: Left college to join family business – Bristol and West Motor Auctions in Bristol
  • 1986: Became managing director of Bristol and West
  • 1991: Bristol and West launched Auctionvision, selling cars at auction using satellite television
  • 1992: Took Auctionvision to the USA and agreed a joint venture business with Manheim Auctions for the satellite auction product
  • 1996: Manheim Auctions in the USA entered a 50/50 joint venture with Bailey for physical auctions in Europe. Bailey becomes MD of the new business – Manheim Europe
  • 2001: Led a joint venture in Madrid with euro vehicle distribution company Berges to remarket vehicles in Spain
  • 2003: Launched Vehicle Remarketing Solutions (VRS)
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