UPDATE: McConkey Auction Group, whose auctions are members of ServNet, said Wednesday afternoon that all of its sales will be virtual "until further notice." More details can be found in this LinkedIn post.
In an update shared Tuesday, independent auction group ServNet said its members are currently still holding sales as regularly scheduled, though some have local government-mandated modifications.
However, the group is urging customers to participate through online platforms when possible.
“ServNet Auctions are locally owned and operated family businesses that are active members of their communities. When necessary and at the discretion of local ownership decision, ServNet auctions may be altering operations to ensure the safety of all employees and customers alike,” the group said in a statement.
ServNet also noted that customers should confer with their local auction for scheduling specifics or any changes.
“In the rapidly evolving situation we are all experiencing, ServNet auctions will continue to stay in touch with all customers, and will always be reachable,” ServNet executive director John Brasher said in the release. “As usual, if you have any specific questions or comments, please reach out to your local ServNet Auction. You will find a concerned owner on site ready to help.
“Special thanks to our great family of buyers, sellers and employees. With the cooperation and patience of all, we will be able to get through this safely and as quickly as possible.”
In the overall independent auto auction community, locations have continued to share updates throughout the week.
On Monday, Greater Rockford Auto Auction shared via LinkedIn: “Effective Immediately and through March 30th (the next 2 auctions), we will be moving to an internet only simulcast sale on Wednesdays. Buyers will only be able to bid on vehicles through our simulcast online buying capabilities.
“Due to an increase in online bidding please verify that you can log on to Edge Pipeline before sale day! For assistance please contact us at 800-830-4722,” the auction said.
In a “Bob’s Market Message” post on Saturday, McConkey Auction Group president and chief executive officer Bob McConkey said: “Well, we are most certainly experiencing unique times. The effects of the Coronavirus outbreak continue to evolve and significantly disrupt our lives. The social, psychological, and economic impact is serious.
“The mystery — the big question in all of this — is how do we appropriately react as an individual and as a business? We are all in uncharted waters. There are all of the standard, well-publicized precautions about hygiene, social distancing, etc. There are the government recommendations and mandates. There are specific events and ongoing social and entertainment businesses that are tragically forced to close,” McConkey said.
“Then there is us — auctions and auto dealers. All of you are open for business and for many, business is good. For us, it is complex,” he said.
“As of this writing, we are going to continue to offer vehicles in the lanes and welcome our customers to our facilities. We will offer 100% of our inventory via Edge Simulcast and will encourage folks to attend, buy and sell remotely as a viable option. For this coming week, we will credit back your online simulcast fees with purchases of 3 or more units via simulcast. These credits will go toward future simulcast purchases.”
In a LinkedIn post earlier this week, Music City Auto Auction of Nashville said it had hired Ecovasive Southeast Infection Control to disinfect the facility prior to the auction’s Tuesday sale.
MCAA said the virus control program utilizes electrostatic equipment that disperses a non-toxic, natural botanic disinfectant. That disinfectant has an EPA-registered three-minute kill claim, the auction said in the post. The Ecovasive team was set to hone in on high-touch areas at the auction.
“We will be conducting business as usual. This includes offering vehicles through the lanes and online via Simulcast – Cubed Community,” MCAA said in an update. “We are encouraging our dealers to purchase with us on Simulcast.”
In a phone interview Tuesday, National Auto Auction Association CEO Frank Hackett said he sees more independent auctions ramping up digital.
"I think you'll find that as many independents that can go virtual will make that attempt,” he said.