Infiniti has launched a live online auction scheme that provides dealers the first chance to get off-lease vehicles entering the network. Infiniti's 1st Choice targets to boost dealers' used-vehicle margins by allowing them to buy the vehicles before rivals bid up the prices, and by cutting the cost of transporting the vehicles.
"This will give our dealers a chance to buy the off-lease vehicles they want without the additional costs associated with taking a car to auction," says Kevin Cullum, director of remarketing for Infiniti Financial Services, the carmaker’s captive finance arm. "And the dealer can do it sitting in the office." Dealers could acquire any off-lease vehicle coming onto their lot by paying the residual value.
However, if the dealer thinks he can acquire the unit for less, he can list it in the Infiniti-only auction that is held four times a week while keeping the vehicle at the dealership. If another Infiniti dealer wins the off-lease vehicle in the auction, that dealer will have to claim the car from the dealership where it is stored.
For any brand, things like turning over off-lease vehicles to the factory; transporting them to an auction; cleaning and reconditioning them; and moving them to another dealership can result to an additional cost of between $800 and $1,000.
According to Cullum, Infiniti's leasing penetration is focused in a few locations around the country, including the Northeast. As a result, most off-lease vehicles come back to those areas. Cullum remarked that allowing dealers to acquire used vehicles from those dealerships rather than moving them to auctions represent an opportunity for savings. [source: automotive news - sub. required]