Central Auto Auction celebrated its 11-year anniversary March 7.
Founder and President Peter Saldamarco began the sale with his annual State of the Auction and State of the Industry address.
“2017 will be a year of many exciting changes for the auction,” Saldamarco said. “Central Auto Auction will be opening a brand new vehicle evaluation center, a service department with specialization in both new and used tires, along with a much-anticipated 4th lane in our facility.”
With over 400 vehicles and 250 dealers in attendance, the sale featured new-car trades, fleet-lease, units repossessions, and donations in the lanes. Central Auto Auction completed the anniversary event with an 83 percent conversion rate.
To thank their valued customers, the auction treated everyone to gourmet Italian pizza from the Big Green Pizza Truck, served straight from the back of a 1947 former International Fire Truck.
Since commencing operations in 2006, Central Auto Auction has expanded to nine acres. Most recently, Central Auto Auction purchased Chet’s Auto Parts – an adjacent automotive scrap processing facility.
“This addition benefits our INOP sales and donation vehicle processing, as it allows us to pay our consignors considerably more for scrap,” Saldamarco said..
Central also just established a partnership with the Credit Union League of Connecticut. The League now endorses the auction to its 80 members.
“Hopefully, that will kick up our repo volumes,” Saldamarco said.
Central also signed with Tom Stewart of AMS, so Saldamarco also expects to draw more fleet business.
The year started slow, in part because of weather that included a snowstorm that dropped 15 inches on the auction.
The feds delaying tax season also took a toll. But the end of February “just boomed,” Saldamarco said.
Overall, volumes have been down 20 to 30 percent, but sales percentages have been pretty strong.
“We’ve been running 300 and on a good week 370 to 380,” Saldamarco said. “But during the slow time, it was down to 270 to 290.”
Each sale draws about 300 bidders in the line with another 30 or so participating via simulcast.
In addition to its regular sale, Central runs a GSA sale once a month, seven to eight months out of the year.
“New cars just started arriving, which we also marshal for GSA,” Saldamarco said. “The used cars should come in by April.”
A typical sale is 100 units.They are all reconditioned and the sale is open to the public.
The bulk is passenger vehicles, but Central also gets light trucks and mid-size trucks.
“Amtrak is one of GSA’s biggest customers, and Amtrak is our next-door neighbor,” Saldamarco said. “So a lot of pickup truck and light truck volumes come from them specifically.”