Where does a trade-in car go? is there a central reprocessing center?

I have heard that somewhere in the midwest is a place where many tradein cars from around the country go to get reprocessed, auctioned, and then shipped back out to used car dealers and some go to mexico.

is this true? if so, how does it really work? does it add to the price of buying a used car?

Generally unless you’re trading in something nice enough for the dealer to turn around and sell on their lot, the cars go to some sort of regional auction. There’s not any one centralized one, although perhaps there’s a big one somewhere in the midwest you’re thinking of. At the auction they either get sold to used car dealers, autoparts recyclers, exporters who take them to poorer markets (such as Mexico), or sometimes to adventuresome private parties who don’t mind buying a car they can’t really look over in order to save a few bucks.

There’s nothing complicated about the process. When I worked at a dealer it was simple-the nice used cars got prepped and put out on the lot, the cars that were a step below that were sold directly to used car dealers who had connections with us. However, most of the cars simply went to auction locally and local used car dealers bid on them.

the prices to the customer are ALWAYS higher. this is how the dealers who visit the auctions make a living. they buy low and sell as high as possible.

the ‘real’ auctions require you to have a dealer plate to even get in the door. the public is not allowed.

you can usually find a dealer who will let you go with them (or whoever goes for them) to auction and you can let them bid on a car for you, but you will have to pay an agreed upon ‘fee’ to them for their time.

i dont think there is any real savings from locality, since it costs $$ for fuel and trucking. there are auctions all over the country.

i know there is a big one in CT, with dealers from all over New England going there every thursday.

i guess the difference is finding a ‘real’ auction, versus the ones you see on TV, saying ‘auction, public invited’ that is NOT a wholesale auction.

Here in NH there are 2 of these centers I know of. And NH is a small state. I’ll bet states like NY will have 100 of them.

hi, thanks for the comments.

60 Minutes? Andy Rooney did a segment last year where he follows the trail of his old Lexus SUV after he sold it. He went back to the dealership where he traded it in and to the wholesale auction where it was sold. He traced it back to the new owner.

See: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/09/08/podcast_rooney/main828231.shtml

The title of the segment: ?Andy?s car gets the runaround? You can download the video to see what happens when you trade in your car.

All are correct who state that vehicles go to a nearby auction yard. I know of 6 or 7 in central Illinois. There is a hugh auction yard in Maryland Heights, Missouri. It’s in St. Louis county. This place is huge!!! It’s not all wholesale used cars, thay have a contract with Chrysler to repair things like “lot rot”, etc. They also have a body shop on the premises to fix small items so they can get top dollar. When I would inspect a car there it was like finding a needle in a haystack since it was so large.