The automotive auction platform, Bring a Trailer, a popular destination for classic and collector cars, recently announced a new sales record for 2021, in both the total number of sales and in values of vehicles on the site.
Last year, the site held 21,349 auctions with 17,846 successful sales totaling $828 million—a 108 percent increase from 2020. Bring a Trailer also saw a sell rate of more than 83 percent for the year.
“With the changing times of what is considered a classic or collector car, Bring a Trailer has become more relevant than ever with our breadth of auctions and valuation trend data to back it up,” said Co-founder and President Randy Nonnenberg in a press release.
“The expansion of the BaT community, our low fees, and the ever-increasing visibility of our online listings is what has fueled such growth. Our team has done an amazing job of maintaining our trademark quality and a high sale rate, even at this scale.”
Bring a Trailer’s data is readily available so buyers and sellers can make informed decisions on vehicle values and market trends.
Several competitor sites offer a variety of inventory and incentives to join. Newsweek has made a list of some of Bring a Trailer’s competition.
What began as a single salvage yard in California in the early ’80s has grown into a global online vehicle auction destination. Now headquartered in Dallas, Copart operates more than 200 locations in 11 countries with more than 175,000 vehicles up for daily auction, according to their site. Copart specializes in the resale and remarketing of used, wholesale and salvage title vehicles.
A salvage title car is a vehicle with official documentation to show that it has been damaged and is considered a total loss by an insurance company. Copart purchases its vehicles from various sellers, including insurance companies, rental car companies, local municipalities, financial institutions and charities. Those looking to sell can fill out a form on Copart’s site.
The company’s wide range of inventory appeals to dismantlers, body shops, salvage buyers and individual customers, collecting over 2 million vehicle sales each year. To register, prospective buyers must have a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID and any applicable business licenses.
The site offers three membership types. The guest membership is free and best for people simply looking to browse inventory. The basic membership is $59 annually, and individual buyers who only make a handful of purchases each year have buying power to put down 10 percent of the total payment. The Premier membership is $199 annually with a $400 one-time fully refundable deposit with “substantial buying power” benefits.
Copart has a series of fees listed on its site, from a $59 gate fee for all Copart purchases to the vehicle relist fee of 10 percent of the final cost, which applies to vehicles not paid in full within eight calendar days.
Copart accepts various payment options, including non-secure funds like credit cards and mobile wallet apps up to $20,000. The site recommends debit cards, wire transfers, money orders, cashier’s checks, money grams and Canada corporate creditor accounts. Other forms of payment are subject to approval.
Capital Auto Auction
Capital Auto Auction was founded in Washington DC in the late ’80s and expanded in the ’90s to include Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire and Temple Hills, Maryland locations.
The site offers anything from sports cars and motorcycles to the occasional boat or camper. In order to sell on the site, owners must have the vehicle’s title in hand, free of any liens. Capital Auto Auction accepts a limited number of consignments each week on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Prospective buyers can view the vehicles available for bidding roughly one week before the auction date. The only way to bid on these cars is by creating an account. The sale fees are on a sliding scale based on the vehicle’s selling price and are listed with the vehicles. Additional fees could be tacked on depending on where a buyer lives.
Capital Auto Auction only accepts cash, U.S. Certified Bank Check, Visa and Mastercard.
Insurance Auto Auctions
Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) is a global digital marketplace connecting buyers and sellers. Operating out of Westchester, Illinois, the company has over 200 facilities in over 170 countries, with insurers, dealerships, fleet lease and rental car companies, and charitable organizations as sellers.
For those looking to buy, IAA requires registration to start bidding. Prospective bidders can register as a guest for free, but they can’t bid until making a public or licensed business buyer account. To create a public account, one must upload a driver’s license or government ID and pay a $200 membership fee.
To bid on the site, customers can use a broker or bid themselves during the bidding window. Once purchased, a buyer fee is charged for each vehicle sold, along with various internet and service fees.
IAA accepts cash up to $500 per day, money orders, cashier’s checks, certified checks, traveler’s checks, wire transfers, credit and debit cards, account credit, PayPal and financing.
Auto Auction Mall
Auto Auction Mall was created especially for the average person who would not usually have access to dealer-only auctions, according to their website. The site allows anyone anywhere in the world to access every major salvage and insurance vehicle auction house in the U.S. using their dealer license.
Because the site allows entry into dealer-only auctions, it does not have an option to sell independently through the site.
In order to begin bidding, interested buyers must fill out a registration form on the site. While registration is free, bidders must make a down payment before bidding. The deposit must be 10 percent of the amount you wish to spend on the car, with a minimum deposit amount of $600.
The actual bidding process is a bit different as well. Each car auction listing has a timer showing when the live auction starts. While the timer is counting down, bidders have the option of pre-bidding. Once the timer reaches 00:00, the actual auction starts, lasting about two to three minutes.
Auto Auction Mall only accepts bank wire transfers with a flat fee of $249 for vehicle purchase prices below $3,500 or $299 for vehicle purchase prices $3,500 and above, plus a $25 wire transfer fee. A $75 documentation fee is applied to cover title transfers and mailing.
Salvagebid is similar to Auto Auction Mall, allowing individual buyers to purchase clean and salvage vehicles through Insurance Auto Auctions.
To get started, register or log in to view prospective vehicles. The starter membership is free, but upgrading to the premium membership for $199 a year or the VIP membership for $349 a year gives members more benefits.
Buyers need to upload a copy of a government-issued photo ID and place a $600 security deposit, or 10 percent of the intended bid amount to be able to bid.
Starter members are limited to preliminary bidding, entering the highest they are willing to pay before the actual auction. Premium or VIP members can bid during the live auction.
Salvagebid charges fees based on the different membership levels. Starter members pay 10 percent of the purchase price with a minimum of $299, premium members pay 5 percent with a minimum of $250, and VIP members pay 3 percent with a minimum of $200. The company also charges a $99 documentation fee to cover the ownership document transfer and mailing.
Salvagebid accepts bank wire transfers and Zelle for vehicle payments.
A Better Bid
A Better Bid is an online car auction marketplace with more than 150,000 vehicles on sale every day, all of which are 100 percent online. The site essentially gives individual buyers access to historically dealer-only auctions through Copart.
Much like some of the other sites, a Better Bid is free to join, but bidders can upgrade to Premium or Pro memberships. The Premium membership is $150 annually and is ideal for buyers looking to purchase several vehicles, while the Pro membership, at $499 annually, is better for high volume buyers.
Bidders can get started immediately once registering with a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID. The site offers preliminary and live bid options, and bidders will need to place an initial security deposit of 10 percent with a $400 minimum.
After winning the auction, buyers can expect to pay Copart auction fees, A Better Bid fees and applicable sale taxes. The only payment that A Better Bid accepts is a bank wire transfer.
The Market by Bonhams
The Market by Bonhams, founded in 2016, is the fastest-growing online car and motorcycle marketplace in the U.K. and Europe and is launching in America on January 24. The site has since achieved an average sell-through rate of 90 percent.
Auctions can be set up in a few days and go live for seven days. Sellers with The Market by Bonhams U.S. pay a commission—capped at $5,000.
After registering with a credit card, bidders can immediately start placing offers. Automatic bidding is offered where bidders submit their maximum bid in advance.
There are no buyer’s fees, just a flat 5 percent sellers’ commission.
The first American bid will begin on January 24 and close on January 31.
Marqued was launched in June 2021 as an independent brand and venture of Porsche Digital, Inc., with the mission of providing more context, background and time for the potential classic and collectible car market.
“We saw good early traction, in the form of subscriber growth and at the same time saw a developing interest in owning the vehicles we were writing about.” Porsche Digital Managing Director Stephan Baral said in a press release. “While there are already some great auction sites out there in this space, we identified a need to complement them by building something aimed at those new to the world of classics.”
Marqued focuses on classic and modern-classic vehicles. Acceptance depends on multiple factors, including condition, mileage, quality of photos and information submitted, vehicle history, market trends and requested reserve pricing.
To list on the site, sellers must pay $99 per vehicle. The cost includes a custom auction built by the Marqued team, which works with sellers throughout the entire process.
Buyers interested in participating in auctions need to make an account on the site and register a credit card to cover any potential buyer’s fee holds. Once the credit card is cleared, buyers are cleared to bid.
A 5 percent buyer’s fee is charged to the winner of each auction in addition to the winning bid amount. The minimum charge is $250, and the maximum charge is $5,000.
Marqued only accepts U.S. and Canadian credit cards. Debit cards are not accepted. All winning bids must be paid in full within a week of purchase.