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Online automotive market Bring a Trailer closes out 12 months with $1.35B in sales

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1977 Datsun 280Z 4-Speed 

Courtesy: Kahn Media

Online automotive market Bring a Trailer said it expects to shut out the 12 months with a record $1.35 billion in sales, as a latest generation of collectors logged on to purchase classic and pre-owned cars.

Randy Nonnenberg, Bring a Trailer’s co-founder and president, told CNBC that sales for the 12 months are up 63% from 2021, when sales hit $829 million.

The San Francisco company’s website has made it easy for collectors to purchase and sell cars online and attracted a flood of young automotive traders in the course of the Covid pandemic, selling every little thing from seven-figure Ferraris to $60,000 Corvettes and $15,000 Saabs.

The query now is whether or not the pandemic-fueled frenzy of automotive collecting will delay if there’s a recession. Nonnenberg said he sees no evidence of a slowdown in the corporate’s business.

“The large challenge we now have is handling all of the demand,” he said.

While Bring a Trailer, which was acquired by Hearst Autos in 2020, has disrupted the standard business of shopping for and selling collector cars, traditional classic automotive auction corporations like Mecum, RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Co. also had strong years in 2022. Hagerty, the classic automotive insurance company, also entered the auction business, buying Broad Arrow and launching Hagerty Marketplace, an internet sales platform.

2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta 

Courtesy: Kahn Media

Rising rates of interest, recession fears and increasing automotive inventories have began to pressure used-car prices and demand. Nonnenberg said some automotive prices have drifted lower, with the common sale price down barely within the second half of 2022.

Yet he said Bring a Trailer’s business model − based on low-cost, easy-to-use and efficient automotive buying and selling − may gain advantage in a downturn. Sellers pay a flat fee of $99, while the customer fee is 5% on top of the ultimate sale price with a cap of $5,000. That is far inexpensive than traditional auctions or many dealers.

“There’ll proceed to be horse trading,” Nonnenberg said. “If people have had their automotive for 3 or 4 years, and so they want something else, or their financial situation changes suddenly and so they have six cars and so they need to sell two, that is still good for our business model.”

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo 

Courtesy: Kahn Media

Bring a Trailer’s growth this 12 months was driven by higher sales volume and automotive values. As much as 700 cars were sold each week and the common value of the cars sold was $54,495, up from $47,500 in 2021.

This 12 months, 145 cars sold for greater than $500,000 , up 172% from 2021, as the corporate attracted wealthier buyers and sellers. A 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta that sold for $5.36 million in May was its most costly automotive ever sold.

Together with growing sales volume, Bring a Trailer desires to expand its community of collectors and automotive enthusiasts. It has over 900,000 registered users, and about 413,000 registered bidders. It is also planning to roll out more in-person events and is working with partners in local markets to expand services to buyers and sellers, Nonnenberg said.

For 2023, Nonnenberg said the large goal is using beefed-up technology to scale back wait times to list cars. It now takes a mean of 26 days between submitting a automotive for listing and going live to tell the tale the positioning, and Nonnenberg said, “we would love that to come back right down to 10 days, that is the noble goal.”

2000 Saab 9-3 Viggen 

Courtesy: Kahn Media

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