Manheim is a wheeler dealer from way back that trades cars like stocks. With about 145 locations worldwide, the firm is the nation's largest wholesale vehicle auction company. It remarkets automobiles for wholesale consignors, including car dealers and makers, rental-car and fleet companies, and financial institutions. (Typically, licensed franchise and independent car dealers buy Manheim's vehicles.) The firm conducts both physical and online auctions and offers auction-related services, as well, such as reconditioning, wholesale inspections and certifications, and used-car valuation. A subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Manheim (formerly Manheim Auctions) was founded by four colleagues in 1945.
Manheim, which saw a 20% increase in online buying in 2009, is sold on the promise of online auctions. Online buying has become increasingly popular as financially strapped dealers turn to just-in-time buying and selling of used vehicles in an attempt to limit expensive inventory. As more used-car dealers turn to online buying to stock their lots, Manheim is attempting to roll out nationwide standards in vehicle inspections to facilitate interstate transactions. It's OVE.com unit's bid-or-buy-now service connects customers with an inventory of more than 25,000 vehicles.
Another road to growth for the auction firm is international sales, particularly as the US economy has faltered. To that end, in 2009 the firm formed a joint venture with vehicle exporter ExportTrader.com. The company runs remarketing units in Australia, Canada, more than half a dozen countries in Europe, Dubai, and Asia/Pacific and has been expanding its international business in recent years. In 2006 Manheim teamed up with China's Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co. to form Manheim International Commodity Auction, a joint venture to auction cars in the Chinese market. In early 2007 the joint venture began auctioning cars in Shenzhen, China. Manheim plans to establish more new companies in several major Chinese cities, including Beijing. In early 2008 the company added Turkey to the list of countries in which it does business.
Manheim owns a majority stake in online car buying and selling firm AutoTrader.com. It also operates Frontline Services, OVE.com, Manheim Simulcase, and Manheim Automotive Financial Services, Total Resource Auctions, and Manheim Consulting. In 2010 it sold paintless dent repair company Dent Wizard to private investment firm H.I.G. Capital. – less