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Great Deals are Waiting at the Wisconsin Auto Auction

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Great Deals are Waiting at the Wisconsin Auto Auction

Joshua Gore
May 22, 2006

Everyone wants to get a good deal on their next vehicle (who wouldn't...right?). When buying a vehicle from a dealer, the least you'll pay for a vehicle is the dealer's wholesale price (unless he's flipped his lid of course!). How do many of the used car dealers get their vehicles? They buy them from auctions. This article is about the auto auctions that the general public are allowed to participate in. For someone living in Wisconsin, there are three common types of Auto Auctions that the public is typically allowed to participate in.

The first of three that I'll mention is the 'online auto auction'. Two examples are eBay Motors and Yahoo Auctions. There are many aspects of online auctions that are very similar to auctions that occur in public. The people involve bid on a specific vehicle, and when a time limit expires, the top bidder takes the vehicle.

Sounds pretty simple huh? Well there are a few things you are going to need to watch out for. First, you won't see the vehicle until after you've bought it. This is probably the biggest drawback for obvious reasons. Second,it's often the case that the seller won't list the VIN#, so it's impossible to locate the car's history throu CARFAX. Third, you may have to drive quite a ways to pick the car up (or have it delivered to you which can be quite expensive).

The second of the three auctions I'm going to discuss here is the 'public auto auction'. The public auto auction is very much what it sounds like. It is the public auction of automobiles. Dealers often auction their cars off beginning at wholesale price. This is a good place to get a decent deal, but most cars will end up being sold (if sold at all) at or above wholesale prices.

The third and final type of auction that I am going to talk about is that of 'Police Auctions and Government Auctions'. There are typically two different types of vehicles up for auction here. First is the seized vehicle. These could be any automobiles either owned by or involved with someone who is participating in illegal activities. The second type of vehicle is that of the decommisioned vehicle. A good example of this would be that of a police car that had been used for five years and was replaced...the government would then auction the police car off. After attending a police or government auction, you'll realize that the decommissioned vehicles often sell for much less than the seized vehicles.

Regardless of which auction you choose to buy your car from, you need to be very careful. I'd like to offer two tips.
1) Don't buy a lemon
2) Never pay over blue book value for any of these cars

If you'd like to locate a Wisconsin Auto Auction near you, visit Wisconsin-Auctions.com for a complete listing of the various public auctions going on throughout the wonderful State of Wisconsin! See you at the Auto Auction!



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