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K – Your assertions may be true for your stores, but that is not the case for the bulk of vehicles at auction. Many dealerships will send off brand trade ins to the auction (ex: Chevrolet dealer takes a Ford in on trade). Additionally dealerships will often “turn” their inventory sometime between 60-120 days. If they’ve purchased a car and it’s not moving many dealers will move it to get their cash back out of the car and put it back into another car that they might be able to retail, and make a profit on.
In economics we tend to think of auctions as a good way to get at the true price of an object. Of course, it isn’t quite perfect as there’s still problems with information asymmetries, and people can get a winner’s curse because the people who err in thinking the car is worth more than it actually is are the ones who are likely to win. On the other hand, the price can go lower if there just aren’t enough people at the auction for that to happen– you need at least two people over-valuing the object and willing to pay for it for one of them to over-pay.
No, I was not referencing salvage auctions. Local auto auctions are extremely tricky, and I would never recommend them as a thrift-shopping device to anyone by an expert. I work for several dealerships, and each and everyone one sends cars to auctions ONLY if they think they would do the dealerships’ reputation harm. I’m glad you think you got a great deal and I really hope you’re one of the exceptions, but I would proceed very carefully with the new car, and I would take it to the best mechanic you can find immediately.
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