How Much Cheaper are Cars at Dealer Auctions?

Are you looking to buy cars at a dealer auction? The most affordable way of buying any vehicle is through a dealer auction. You can save thousands of dollars vs buying it from a dealership – without compromising quality.

In this article, we are going to go over car auction prices vs retail. So, how much cheaper are cars at dealer auctions? How much do cars usually cost at an auction and what are the average dealer auction prices?

We recently completed a study of the savings a buyer could expect at auction. On average, you will save 20% or more. That’s a savings of $4,000 on a $20,000 vehicle. And savvy buyers can expect to save much more.

If you are flexible in your buying choices, you can take advantage of much larger savings.

Car Dealer Auction Prices

Car Dealer Auction Prices

What Types of Vehicles are available at Dealer-only Auctions?

Dealer-only auctions are the main source of inventory for all auto dealerships. They feature a variety of vehicles that fall into 3 main categories:

  1. Recent trade-ins: The selling dealer had excess inventory or that particular vehicle didn’t match the dealer’s needs.
  2. End-of-lease returns: The vehicle reached the end of its’ 2-3 year lease and the leasing company wants to sell the vehicle.
  3. Repossessed vehicles: Banks and other lenders want to sell and recover as much of their loss as possible.
  4. Salvage & Damaged Vehicles: Often purchased to resold after repair by dealers or dismantled by recyclers.

What Condition Are These Vehicles In?

Various dealer-only auctions feature a variety of vehicles. Most auctions specialize in specific categories such as salvage, late models, exotics, and high-value vehicles.

We prefer auctions such as and where many late model, clear title, and undamaged vehicles are available. Many have the full manufacturer’s warranty still in effect.

Some auctions are now featuring “Frontline Ready” vehicles that are fully detailed, are ready for resale to a consumer.

All of these vehicles will have Condition Reports that can be accessed online prior to the auction. These Reports detail any potential issues or where paintwork or dents need attention.

Who Can Buy at Dealer-Only Auctions?

Dealer-only auctions are strictly closed to the general public. Only licensed dealers can attend.

It’s not feasible to obtain a Dealer license unless you are planning on getting into the business of purchasing vehicles to resell as a business. Obtaining a dealer license is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Some Dealers offer a “Broker” service where they will purchase auction vehicles on your behalf, at a small fee.


Dealer-only auctions offer tremendous savings when compared to the “retail” prices at car lots.

You are buying the same vehicles, at the same prices as the largest dealer in your area.

Get your car dealer license today