Auctions are a good way to unload unwanted stuff. These are events designed to sell valuable items to the highest bidders. A common type of auction involves motor vehicles. Overseas, wealthy car collectors are known to occasionally offer a rare automobile or two to willing buyers. The reasons for selling vary, of course. Sometimes the seller just needs funds; at other times he just needs to clear space in his property.
Anyway, in the Philippines, the more popular kind of car auction is one organized by banks. You see, because banks in this country are way too lenient in providing financial assistance to car buyers—yes, even car buyers who really can’t afford monthly installments—they often end up having to repossess vehicles from clients who default on payments. You know the story: A modestly earning office employee gets enticed by the low-down-payment, zero-interest car promos, and then plunks down the requisite initial cash outlay. Problem is, said impulsive buyer does not take into serious consideration the burdensome monthly amortization. Before he knows it, he’s already behind on payments a couple of months. And then one morning, he finds himself helplessly watching his new sedan being sequestrated by agents of the lending bank.
And that’s how Philippine banks end up with lots upon lots of pre-owned cars—cars they need to sell in order to recoup their investment. Hence, the periodic car auction, invitations to which are privately sent to the banks’ clientele.
That’s nice and all, but there’s some uneasy feeling about buying a car from total strangers you won’t even meet. Fortunately, there’s a new type of auction emerging from the business model, and I’ve been made aware of it by Ford Philippines managing director Lance Mosley. According to Lance, his company recently joined a car auction organized by HMR Auctions. Ford was the only carmaker that participated in the event; the other was a bank, as usual.
“We have a lot of demo vehicles—including press units we loan to journalists—that are just sitting in our parking lot,” Lance told us. “The auction gave us a good opportunity to sell them at good prices. These are units that have very low mileage in them.”
The great thing about buying a vehicle from a car company is that you’re sure it has been well-maintained. Also, you can bet they won’t let go of a unit they haven’t thoroughly checked, lest a buyer end up with a problematic vehicle and badmouth the brand on social media. You know how it goes these days.
And now, Lance is inviting his fellow executives from rival automotive brands to join the auction. The next one, I understand, is happening on December 3 at Km. 21 East Service Road along South Superhighway in Sucat. He wants everyone to do well in the auction.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” he said.
You know what’s good about this whole thing? It’s that the public can finally have access to excellent deals from carmakers’ parking lots. As a longtime motoring journalist, I have regularly been offered nice deals by auto companies. Say, a 10,000km test-drive unit of the latest compact hatchback, or a barely used demo unit of a pickup that merely toured mall shows. If I had the money, I’d get a lot of these vehicles and resell them. The deals are always very attractive.
Now, regular buyers of secondhand cars are given the chance to snap up these pre-loved units from the auto brands themselves—not banks who pried away the cars from luckless owners unable to cough up the payments.
I hope the other brands see the benefit of joining these car auctions, and then we can have quarterly selling events featuring various brands and models many of us have been drooling over.
If nothing else, go to the live auction and witness the aggressive bidding by prospective buyers. I imagine it’s like watching reality TV in the flesh, if there’s such a thing.