Millions of motor vehicles for sale, are given at dealer auto auctions every year. These auctions are restricted for the general public and only licensed dealers can participate. Prices of vehicles sold at dealer auctions tend to be lower than those advertised on any dealer’s lot. Sellers forgo a potentially higher sticker price to take their inventory to a dealer auction where it will be auctioned off for thousands less than retail for a number of reasons. Maintaining aging inventory costs dealers both money and reputation. Most vehicles sold are off-lease returns, replaced rental fleets, company cars, repossessed for sale vehicle, and trade-ins.
Off-lease: vehicles returned to the financial institution at the end of a lease term. Closed auctions are usually the only venue for such financial institutions to dispose of a large volume of end-of-lease returns. The terms of a lease normally put a restriction on the number of miles driven, require regular maintenance and penalize for excessive wear. Usually, off-lease vehicles are returned within 2–3 years, often before their original factory warranty expires.
Off-rental: rental companies normally replace their fleets once a year, releasing a flood of late-model cars to the secondary market. Like the big financial institutions that underwrite car leases, rental companies also rely on auto auctions to sell off their used inventory. These vehicles tend to be well maintained and driven for only one year. Mileage tends to accumulate quickly on a rental car. Optional features are limited to an A/C and automatic transmission, but these cars are otherwise as close to the base model as they can get. Usage of rental cars is rough; it is safe to assume that during that first year each rental car will be driven by a normal distribution of all types of drivers in all kinds of conditions.