The £1.5 million facility will be the largest of the firm’s European sites and will have four individual sales lanes running simultaneously in one sales arena.
Manheim claims that once the building work is completed by the middle of 2007, the 52-acre Colchester site will be able to offer the highest vehicle throughput of any auction outside the USA, with around 170,000 vehicles going under the hammer each year.
To start with, each of the four lanes will have one auctioneer but, with the ever-growing demand from vendors and buyers, Manheim expects to fully adopt the US practice of two auctioneers per lane.
If it is successful, Manheim may roll the concept out to other sites in the network.
John Bailey, Manheim’s chief executive, said: ‘We have been looking closely at the USA multi-lane concept for some time and Colchester is well-placed to be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
‘At 52 acres, it certainly has the physical capacity and with more fleet, manufacturer and dealer vendors wanting to sell there, it just makes so much sense.
‘We’ve also conducted extensive research among the 8,500 individual buyers who come to Colchester each year and they are really up for it.’
At Manheim’s 450-acre flagship site in Manheim, Pennsylvania, there are 30 auction lanes, spanning 200 metres, all running simultaneously. Each lane has two auctioneers and in total over 10,000 vehicles are offered on a single sale day.