The online auto market had promotion of the year with record sales of $1.35 billion

1977 Datsun 280Z 4-speed

Courtesy: Kan Media

Online auto marketplace Bring a Trailer said it expects to end the year with record sales of $1.35 billion as a new generation of collectors sign on to purchase classic and pre-owned vehicles.

Bring a Trailer co-founder and president Randy Nonenberg told CNBC that sales for the year were up 63% from 2021, when sales were $829 million.

The San Francisco company’s website has made it easier for collectors to buy and sell cars online and has drawn a flood of young auto dealers during the Covid pandemic, selling everything from seven-figure Ferraris to $60,000 Cruisers and $15,000 Saabs. .

The question now is whether the car collecting frenzy fueled by the pandemic will hold if there is a recession. Nonenberg said he sees no evidence of a slowdown in the company’s business.

“The big challenge we face is handling all the demand,” he said.

While Bringing a Trailer, which Hearst Autos acquired in 2020, has disrupted the traditional business of buying and selling collector cars, traditional classic car auction houses such as Mecum, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co. Also enjoying strong years in 2022. Hagerty, the classic car insurer, has also gotten into the auction business, buying Broad Arrow and launching Hagerty’s Market, an online sales platform.

2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta

Courtesy: Kan Media

Rising interest rates, recession fears, and increasing car inventories are beginning to put pressure on used car prices and demand. Nonenberg said some car prices have fallen, with the average selling price declining slightly in the second half of 2022.

Still, he said bringing in Trailer’s business model — based on buying and selling low-cost, easy-to-use, efficient cars — could benefit in a downturn. Sellers pay a flat fee of $99 and a buyer’s fee is 5% on top of the final sale price up to a maximum of $5,000. This is much less expensive than traditional auctions or many dealers.

“The horse trade will continue,” Nonenberg said. “If people have had their car for three or four years, and they want something else, or their financial situation suddenly changes and they have six cars and they want to sell two, that’s still good for our business model.”

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

Courtesy: Kan Media

Trailer growth this year was driven by higher sales volumes and vehicle values. Up to 700 cars were sold each week and the average value of cars sold was $54,495, up from $47,500 in 2021.

This year, 145 vehicles sold for more than $500,000, up 172% from 2021, as the company has attracted wealthier buyers and sellers. The 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta, which sold for $5.36 million in May, was the most expensive car ever sold.

Along with the growing sales volume, Bring a Trailer wants to expand its community of collectors and car enthusiasts. It has more than 900,000 registered users, and approximately 413,000 registered bidders. Nonenberg said it also plans to roll out more in-person events and is working with partners in local markets to expand services for buyers and sellers.

For 2023, Nonenberg said a big goal is to use enhanced technology to reduce waiting times for cars to be listed. It now takes an average of 26 days between submitting a car for listing and going live on the site, and Nonenberg said, “We’d like to get that up to 10 days, that’s a lofty goal.”

2000 Saab 9-3 Vision

Courtesy: Kan Media

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