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Shipping a Car from a Car Auction (Podcast)

Shipping a Car from a Car Auction (Podcast)

Jeremy Louisos, senior vice president at PreOwned Auto Logistics, talks with John Maher about the process of shipping vehicles from an auto auction. He explains the auction process, talks about who buys vehicles from auto auctions, and goes over how to arrange shipping for vehicles purchased at an auction.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Jeremy Louisos, senior vice president at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Today our topic is shipping a car from a car auction. Welcome, Jeremy.

Jeremy Louisos: Hey, John, thanks for having me.

What Are Car Auctions?

John: Sure. So Jeremy, what are car auctions, for people who might not really know exactly what those are?

Jeremy: You know, it’s probably what you imagine. If you think of that classic auction block where you have an auctioneer speaking quickly and generating excitement amongst a group of buyers, trying to sell anything, it’s actually a pretty similar scene. The difference is you’re going to require a really big parking lot. So these auctions, especially the brick-and-mortar auctions, you’re going to see typically a pretty big building at the center of them and a large parking lot around, where vehicles are going to be run through what they call the block. They’ll be driven through the lane up to the auctioneer, with the seller there. Potential buyers will be gathered around and they’ll be bidding and trying to purchase these vehicles.

Online Vs In-person Auto Auctions

John: Interesting. So they’ll actually drive the car right up into the building so that everybody can see it while they’re bidding on it.

Jeremy: Yeah. And so online has changed the game. There are now online auctions that even go to specific sites and might travel around and move to the car. But the traditional auto auction, yeah, they’re driving the vehicle through. It’s a pretty exciting sight, actually. On auction day at these lots, there’s cars going all over the place, people moving around looking at these vehicles, trying to select the best of the best, or whatever fits their purchasing needs, and it’s a pretty exciting day when you get out there.

Who Ships From Auto Auctions?

John: Right, sounds like it. So who would typically get a car shipped from a car auction? Is it usually just dealers, or do you get a lot of individual people that are there trying to buy a car?

Jeremy: Yeah, it’s really both. So there are a number of auctions we work with that are specifically for dealers. They require a dealer’s license to be there, and those auctions usually run on a regular schedule and draw that dealer crowd. But there are certainly auctions, Copart, a number of other auctions, that are open to the general public. In addition to these online auctions, you can… Even the brick-and-mortar auctions, folks can attend now virtually. That’s been a big trend in the industry that’s really pushed forward in the past year. Anybody now has access to these auctions. Maybe not all of the same auctions the dealers can go to, but if you look out there, you will be able to find an auction to purchase a vehicle from.

Where Do Car Auctions Get Vehicles From?

John: I’ve always wondered, when I trade in my car at a dealership to get a new car, what happens to that car that I’ve traded in? Does it often end up at one of these auction houses?

Jeremy: It does. A lot of our customers, they find it the best way to just move that part of their business along rather than try to sell them off individually, or maybe their dealership isn’t in the business of selling the kind of car they received. They’ll just ship all those vehicles directly to auction. Lease returns, fleet companies, banks, will take all the return vehicles or vehicles that were used for a period of time. Rental companies, anything that exceeded its life at whatever company that it was a part of, will also be brought to these auctions, so there’s just an assortment.

Vehicle Shipping Options From Auto Auctions

John: So what types of cars are available at an auction typically? And then what types of car transport is available to get those cars to wherever I want it shipped to?

Jeremy: Yeah, so really, anything you can imagine. So I had mentioned Copart as an auction available to the public. Copart typically deals with vehicles that maybe have been damaged or repossessed or there might be some sort of defect. People might take a chance or know pretty well how to fix these vehicles up and get them back and sell them, all the way up to what you see on TV, the Barrett-Jackson auctions, where you see some of the most exotic highline vehicles on the planet. And then everything in between. A lot of these dealer-only auctions, they’ll have… On some days maybe they’ll have like a big Toyota sale. On another day, they’ll have a highline sale with Mercedes, BMWs, Porsche and stuff like that, so really anything you’re looking for. You might not be able to find everything at every auction, but there are a number of auctions that specialize in every type as they go through their month.

As far as what types of transportation, same deal. When it comes to something that might not run and start, we’d want to send special equipment that has maybe a winch cable or the capabilities of being loaded on by forklift. More standard auctions, open carriers work great. And then in the case of highline, exotic vehicles, sometimes enclosed is going to be the best. You’re never going to want that vehicle to be exposed to the elements, and have them in a closed carrier. So you can find every type of vehicle and have it transported anywhere you’d like.

Arranging Auto Transport From a Car Auction

John: And how does an auto transport from a car auction get arranged? Do I need to be at that auction and be waiting for the truck to come to pick up that car? Or is it a matter of just setting it up ahead of time and then I can go home and just wait for the car to arrive?

Jeremy: Yeah, so we typically, on almost every type of transportation that we set up, we really like to have some sort of representative on-site to be there for the condition report, just make sure that everything went according to the expectations of our clients. The auctions might be the exception to that, because they’re just in the business of selling vehicles. These are locations where carriers are coming in and out of all the time. They have a great system, this gate pass system, noting damage. There are thorough condition reports that take place at the auction. This is one of those rare occasions where you actually don’t need to be there on-site. Especially for a lot of our dealership customers, they might even just add us to their account. We’re automatically getting receipts and the gate releases and the requests as they’re purchasing, and we’ll just take it from there. They might never even be at the auction. They might be purchasing online. They send over the info, and get right to the auction house, pick the vehicle up and get it right back for them.

John: Do you sometimes even have multiple vehicles that you’re picking up say for the same dealer, where you’re going with with one truck and you’re picking up 7, 8, 9, 10 cars from that auction and bringing them to a dealer?

Jeremy: Or more, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. There are times where folks especially that are buying from multiple dealerships at the same time, they might hand out 50 or 60 gate passes at the end of the day, so that is certainly something we accommodate.

Set up Transport for Your Vehicle Today

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Jeremy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Jeremy: My pleasure. Thanks, John.

John: And for more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at or call (877) 542-1955.