Market Conditions Commentary
Cars are short? And the "time machine"
by Robert Hollenshead
Feb 22 2012 11:06AM
The first three weeks of February I have sold 1,700 units and have 550 more for Friday to round out the month.  The average price is one percent over average MMR.  The sales percentage is running just under 95%.  Is that scarce?

What this means is we are not playing softball, hide and seek, or Chinese Checkers.  We’re in the cage with no gloves on and we are doing business, win, or lose.  If anyone that is in our lane or on simulcast can show me that you got jerked by bidding on a car and we didn’t sell it, I’ll send you the title for free.  Simply not my style or MO. 

This week, it is a car show with the exception that if ever one of these Foster Children will be getting a new home, I guarantee it.  This is not practice or a contest to see if we can hammer the buyers into a coffin that requires a crane to extract them.  It’s pure ACV.  If the bitch is presented correctly and we have a robust audience, they are getting a new home… no exceptions.  70 Audis (you read correctly 70),  12 Porsches.  75 Lexi,  60 Toyotas,  70 Honda-Acura,  100 Mercedes, BMWs.  100 good Domestics with Vettes, Hummers, converts, and a pile of Ford product, the right stuff, a pile of VWs and name something else, I got it.  Nothing scarce here folks…nothing…and I am selling, period.

Let me ask you a question.  Why would anybody repeat activity that ends in a stroke?  Why would a buyer stand in anybody’s lane after exploring 300 acres of cars, wait for the ones they chose, get jerked, and come back and do it again?  If you believe that works, you need the brick that is between your ears extracted.  A Cat has to believe they have a shot at getting something worth the candy.  If they know they have to pay brain dead money on every car, why would they come back?  For a beating?  How dopey can you be. 

Why does a real auction work?  Greed and fear.  Two basic human traits that cause a market to reveal itself.  If the greed of the seller always overwhelms the fear of the buyer, knowing he is crushed every time he buys, you have effectively eliminated the unique dynamic a live auction floor creates.  The unknown result that establishes value. 

God, I love this. 

And I suppose I am very happy that the vast majority of sellers simply can’t understand it, or are incapable of executing.  Their fear of participation eliminates them from arena.  I have to admit, putting yourself in the circumstance is what continues to get us wild.  It’s all about the moment, the unknown, your skill set being uncovered for the better or worse, in public.  Your bags of money being exposed to the market, with no reserve. 

This is the “pump”.  If you haven’t experienced it, it’s a pity.  Because for 40 years it is the pump that hits me 4AM of a sale day.   It keeps us coming back for the action as if it were the first time on the floor.  I hate to say this, but it is not the economics, it is the action.  It’s probably why, even though I am 60, I feel 19.  The action is my “time machine” (Travis, my son, is 18 years younger than me.  It happens frequently that someone approaches us and asks him if he is my father, or am I his younger brother.  It gets him nuts.  Actually, he isn’t talking to me since last week because a good looking lady asked him right in front of him.  He thought I set it up.  I didn’t.  Thanks, “time machine”).

I hope you in the lanes (or on simulcast).  Say hell-o to me on the block if you read this non-sense.  I have guys from East Gabip telling me they read it.  More proof you are spending too much time on the computer and not enough time in the lane (only joking).  I love it.  Say hell-o.  We’re in this thing together. 

Sell Well,

Robert Hollenshead
Founder and President
R. Hollenshead Auto Sales Inc.
1373 Lancaster Road - Manheim, PA 17545

3 Readers' Comments

Frank Curcio
FL 32609-2372
10 years ago
Bob, please write more about "Greed and Fear / Buyer and Seller / Live Auction Floor." Your short paragraph above is an amazing analysis of this matter, that you simply can not find writing on it ANYWHERE else.

How about a live online Webinar with you speaking on this subject matter ? I know you have lot's more on this, we just want you to share it with us.


Robert Hollenshead
PA 17545
10 years ago
Frank, I try not to do it too much because I don't want to bore people with it. But, I am a student on this issue. Crowd behavior, co-validation of our activity and what that means in an open forum, like an auction, or the sporting field, or the Roman Colosseum. This didn't just start at Manheim. It is innate to our DNA. It is fascinating and I have an out of body experience every time I am on the block watching it happen. It seems like I am into the sale of that particular car, but on another level, I am in the classroom. Thanks for your compliment, it sincerely means allot to me.

Yakov Bandura
NY 13206
10 years ago
Hi Everyone,

Cars are out there. I agree that it's getting harder finding CLEAN CARFAX NO PAINTWORK cars, but there are cars out there. Lane 22 has a ton of them, just gotta buy them. I agree with Frank. We need to have like webinars about certain automotive topics. It would be great if Bob could make one happen or maybe we all come to Manheim and just have a good seminar. Something to think about for future reference. Sign me up if one is coming anytime soon :D. Thank you