State of Michigan Vehicle Auctions

When I asked recently about auto auction stories, one person mentioned they knew someone who had gotten a good deal from Michigan’s state auto auction. When I Googled for it, I found auctioneer Gary M. Berry who actually serves as an auctioneer for these state auctions.

State auctions of “excess vehicles” occur 4 to 6 times a year. According to Berry, a person could expect a price of between $2500 and $5000 for a decent, well-maintained vehicle, although one that hasn’t been cleaned for sale. So, the bargain price may require a bit of elbow grease. Cars available range from 4 to 6 years old and are low mileage.

Mr Berry says some “satisfied customers” return every 2-3 years to buy cars and trucks through the Michigan State Auto Auction. Some purchase cars for sons and daughters heading to college, and others are just buying a family car.

Berry recommends visiting an auction and seeing how things work before participating in one. The next auction, noted on his web site, will be September 8 at 10 a.m. Inspection of vehicles to be auctioned is available from 8-3 on Friday, September 7, and the morning of the sale from 8-9:30. The auction will be held at 731 N. Canal, which is the MDOT garage located on Canal, just north of Saginaw in West Lansing. Berry’s web site provides sale arrangements.

The State of Michigan also hosts an on-line auction which, at the time of this writing, had 6 cars and 2 motorcycles available.  For those who may be interested, numerous other items are available for bidding on the same site.

Salvage Auction Goes High Tech

I attended auctions with my parents when I was a kid; much of my grandfather’s farm equipment and some household things were sold at an auction after his death. Many of us have some experience with on line auction sites like eBay. While eBay has its own car site, vehicle auction businesses offer their own on line auctions. One represented here in Michigan by facilities in Lansing and metro Detroit is Copart, founded originally in California but now with facilities nationwide and in Canada. Their original on line auction is called VB2, and bidding can be done on line or a one of their local facilities.

Copart has prepared a number of videos to demonstrate their on line auction process, such as this one. Unlike eBay, where auctions end at a given time, Copart’s auctions are similar to live auctions where the process continues till the highest bid is reached and the auctioneer announces, “Sold!”

Copart’s Lansing area facility holds local sales on Fridays at 12 noon at:

Copart, Inc

3902 S Canal Road

Lansing, MI 48917-9540

Phone: (517) 322-2455

Copart’s metro area facilities holds local sales on Thursdays at noon at:

Copart Salvage Auto Auction

21000 Hayden Drive

Woodhaven, MI

Phone: (734) 365-0070

Copart sells more than cars. They also sell trucks of every size and classification, SUVs, ATVs, trailers, motorcycles, dirt bikes, boats, jet skis, and snowmobiles, as well as classic cars and even fork lifts. Copart also buys vehicles. As I write this, their web site lists nearly 75,000 vehicles of various kinds for sale. Each vehicle shows its make, model, year, mileage, current location, and the highest bid, along with a photo and more detailed information.

Copart’s success has earned it a place on Forbes “200 Best Small Companies” list nine years in a row. Copart was also featured on the television show, World’s Best as “The World’s Best Remarketing Company.”


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