ARLINGTON, Texas and CARMEL, Ind. -

Illinois independent dealer Eric Nelson isn’t really sure what he’s going to do with his new acquisition. That really wasn’t on his mind when he bought the head-turning, late-model sports car.

Rather, Nelson was thinking more about where his money was going.

Nelson, owner of Nelson Automotive in Mt. Prospect, Ill., and the 2015 Illinois Quality Dealer of the Year, placed the winning bid of $20,300 for a red 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback in an auction held Tuesday during the final day of the NIADA|NABD Virtual Convention and Expo Series, with all of the proceeds going directly to the National Independent Automotive Dealers Association.

The vehicle was donated by ADESA, which held the auction on the new ADESA Simulcast+ platform.

The NIADA Foundation coordinates NIADA’s commitment to charitable giving as well as awarding to deserving college-bound students across the United States.

The vehicle will be delivered to Nelson free by ADESA.

“I just wanted to help push the bid price up, since it was going to benefit an organization with a great mission,” Nelson said in a news release from NIADA. “It’s certainly not a car I would usually buy. It’s not quite in my wheelhouse.

“I don’t keep anything, really. My wife Sarah and I, we keep rotating cars. Maybe she’ll drive it for a month, then it’ll go onto the lot in inventory. I’m just happy to be able to help the NIADA Foundation,” Nelson went on to say.

The auction marked the eighth consecutive year ADESA has auctioned off a nearly new, front-line ready vehicle during NIADA’s annual convention. Those auctions have raised a total of $196,000 to support the foundation’s initiatives.

“ADESA and the KAR Global family of companies are vital partners to NIADA, our member dealers and the NIADA Foundation base,” NIADA interim executive vice president Shaun Petersen said. “Their generous donation of vehicles over the past eight years has played a big part in funding the NIADA Foundation’s numerous charitable activities and scholarships for outstanding high school and college students.”

This year’s auction was the first to be held online, as the convention was moved to a virtual format because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year especially, we realize that our dealer community needs resolute, dedicated partners to support their success and help them prevail through unforeseen challenges,” KAR Global senior vice president of dealer sales Steve Jordan said. "It’s one reason why we accelerated deployment of our ADESA Simulcast+ platform, which simulates the live auction environment in a fully digitized, highly automated, live streaming format.

“ADESA is committed to the NIADA Foundation and is thrilled to once again give back to the many deserving dealers, family members and communities positively impacted by its work,” Jordan added.

The charity auction directly followed KAR Global president Peter Kelly’s convention keynote address, “The Road Ahead: How Independent Dealers Can Win in an Age of Change.”

Other participants from KAR Global included “Sourcing Inventory in the COVID Era: an Auction Perspective” with panelist John Hammer, who is chief commercial officer at KAR and president of ADESA, and “The Future of Floorplanning” with panelist Jim Money, who is president of AFC.

The NIADA Foundation coordinates the association’s commitment to charitable giving and education.

In addition to making numerous donations to charities nationwide and providing matching funds for local charitable projects, the goundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist members of the automotive community affected by hurricanes and other disasters, and has established endowments that fund university scholarships for students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.

Learn more about the NIADA Foundation at