The Record Breaking Auction

The Mercedes Benz CLK320 cabriolet that recently featured on a bidorbuy R1, no-reserve auction attracted a record number of visitors

(12 December 2008) The second-hand Mercedes Benz CLK320 cabriolet recently auctioned on South Africa’s largest consumer-to-consumer marketplace was the most expensive car ever sold on the site. With a book value of about R350,000, the 2003 Mercedes was one of the most expensive items ever placed on bidorbuy in the R1 no-reserve auction format (the record-holders in this respect are several properties).

This kind of auction means that the seller is obliged to let the goods go to the highest bidder, regardless of what the amount may be.

The auction attracted more than 9700 visitors, which is also an absolute record on bidorbuy. The exposure is of crucial importance for the success of an auction. The more visits, the more chances there are of the item being sold, and at a higher price too.

The action for the second-hand Mercedes CLK320 opened at 9 AM on Thursday 27 November 2008 and closed a little after 3PM on the same day, which means that it lasted about six hours. The bidding reached R220,000 within the first twenty minutes, but then the activity cooled down, to be somewhat revived only towards the end of the auction. The winning bid of R267,222.25 was placed at exactly three minutes past three.

After the fast-paced excitement of online bidding, things ground down to a snail’s pace in real life. The seller being from Johannesburg and the buyer from Hermanus, it took a while to finalise the transaction through an appointed person. As a matter of fact, the buyer, Michelle, who goes under the user name pepper007 on bidorbuy, is yet to sit behind the wheel of the car she has won. She is expecting delivery in the second half of December, about twenty days after the virtual handshake on bidorbuy.

Michelle is thrilled to have bought such a lovely car (carefully examined in Johannesburg by her son and husband) at such a good price. The seller, who wanted to be known by her fist name, Alice, and her bidorbuy user name, MissSale, is satisfied with the exposure the auction received on bidorbuy and the post-auction process. However, she is less pleased with the price she got for her car. “To be honest, I expected more”, she says.

Experts say that this is not a good time to trade in cars. Like most of the world, South Africans are cutting their spending wherever they can, with cars among the first items to fall victim to the thrifty streak prompted by the global economic gloom.

The dearth of buyers may induce sellers to turn to a R1, no reserve auction, because they know that this type of auction is likely to attract a lot of attention from the visitors to the site, which usually translates into more auction cash. Alice – MissSale on bidorbuy - says that she “likes the risk – it is a bit like gambling”.

“What a stunning experience - crazy but wonderful”, says the buyer.

The Mercedes was only the fourth second-hand car sold on bidorbuy auctions. The company itself did not envisage having second-hand car sales on the site, either in auction format or at fixed prices, because “second-hand cars are generally not suitable for trading online”’ as bidorbuy director Andy Higgins says. However, since bidorbuy opened its car auctions section in November 2008, about a dozen vehicles are listed there at any given time, although that is a far cry from about 36,000 cars listed on bidorbuy in the more traditional, classifieds format.

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything at a fixed price or in an exciting auction format, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.