Arrive Alive

Vehicle Buying, Auctions and the Auction Facilitator

To become a vehicle owner is still the dream for many South Africans. On the Arrive Alive website, we share information on road safety awareness not only with existing vehicle owners but also wish to assist prospective vehicle owners with the information needed to make safe and responsible decisions when purchasing their vehicles.

Buying at vehicle auctions have become an excellent option for those who cannot afford a brand new vehicle but have the knowledge and insight to purchase a quality vehicle at below retail value.

View more about this vehicle buying option at:

Buying Vehicles at an Auction

We decided to gain additional insights by approaching one of the bigger auction facilitators, Imperial Auto Auctions, with a few questions on vehicle auctions:

How often and where are vehicle auctions held by Imperial Auto Auctions?  

Imperial currently hold vehicle auctions once a week. These auctions are only held in Johannesburg at our main Auction centre in Meadowdale.

The auction takes place every Monday at 11 am and on average we have anything between 100 - 150 units on offer.

These range from sedan’s, hatches, SUV’s, LDV’s, bikes, small trucks and occasionally a caravan or two. The auction is usually done by 1 pm, each lot takes less than a minute to sell.

The stock varies every week, and on these auctions, you will get everything from a late model pristine vehicle with low mileage to accident damaged vehicles and older models.

How would the public gain information about auctions to be held - what are the methods and portals used to create awareness?

The public can get all the information they require from our website:

We encourage people to subscribe on our website to receive our weekly updates and auction catalogues of upcoming auctions.

IAA (Imperial Auto Auctions) are very active on social media platforms, like FB and Twitter - links available on our website. We like to interact with our Clients and discuss various topics which come up, we also put up photos of vehicles going on auction etc.

We encourage the public to take advantage of our viewing days: Friday from 08:00 - 18:00 and Saturday’s from 08:00 - 14:00. Where we like to engage with new buyers to auction and advise and answer all the questions they have about how the auctions work and how to register at the auction.

We always advise new buyers to try and come and view at least one auction before registering to bid at our auctions, just so they can get an idea of how the bidding works.

How would you best describe the “nature” of the vehicles auctioned - with bank auctions the vehicles are often repossessed vehicles - how would you describe the fleet that you auction?

Let me first answer you like this: The ‘nature” of any auction in SA is “Voetstoots” with no guarantees! Having said that - the nature of a bank repossession 2016 BMW 116I, with 22 km on the clock and plastic on the seats is it will have motor plan in-tact and its manufacturer’s warranty!  That’s why it’s important for a buyer to carefully inspect the vehicle they interested in buying before the auction.

Our suppliers:

So having said that - we also sell Bank Repossessions from MFC / Nedbank / Standard Bank and Iemas Financial Services.

IAA also get a steady supply of Imperial Group Trade-ins which come to the auction to be disposed of and de-fleet Imperial rentals and Fleet vehicles.

So we offer a varied range of vehicles on auction, including the fully maintained vehicles that come off Fleet and ex rentals. So before you ask - we don’t have separate auctions for the banks, we include whatever stock is released from the banks and the various Imperial Group companies and they will all go on auction together, runners and non-runners alike!

Which vehicles are auctioned -  is there only a specific range i.e. passenger vehicles or does it include trucks, forklifts etc.?

We stay clear of yellow metal, however, we do get trucks often from the banks, as well as bikes, trailers, quads and caravans.  IAA specialise in passenger vehicles so that generally makes up 95% of our line-ups.

What would be your target market/people doing most of the buying at your auctions?

Our auctions have always been well attended amongst the trade because of the “clean’ quality vehicles we sell on auction. This is in part due to the volumes of Fleet vehicles we get which have all been fully maintained.

However, we are becoming well known through word of mouth with the private market, especially with female buyers to our auctions. Privates are starting to see the advantages of buying at auction and the huge savings against trade. Auctions, in general, have become more familiar with the private sector. Privates realise that they can get finance at the auction and enjoy the variety that auctions have to offer and I believe many enjoy the whole experience.

what are your basic requirements under the Consumer Protection Act

As an Auction facilitator - what are your basic requirements under the Consumer Protection Act? What do you need to disclose?

  • As a requirement, we make the Acts that pertain to our industry available on our website. We also attach a copy of our terms to our auction catalogue which we hand out freely at our auctions.
  • Before each auction commences, the auctioneer will read out the terms & conditions of the auction.
  • IAA disclose on our auction catalogue and display any known faults of a vehicle in writing for the public to view.
  • We give potential buyers a reasonable period of time and opportunity to inspect the goods on offer prior to the auction and allow the buyer access to the vehicle, they can start it and inspect the vehicle.
  • Visible signs are displayed all over ‘ NO DUTY TO REPAIR  - this goes in hand with educating our Clients about selling “Voetstoots’ on auction.
  • We also make the auction results available on our website after the auction.

Must a vehicle be roadworthy when going onto auction?

No, it doesn’t. Licence and roadworthy is the responsibility of the purchaser. We do however sell many vehicles at our auctions which have been through roadworthy and this will be displayed on the vehicle.

Are all the customers aware of their requirements to provide FICA details - what do they most often neglect to provide?

Yes - IAA will not register a buyer at the auction without all the required legal documentation. This would also include bringing your ID book (not a copy). We list all the requirements in our terms and conditions and we have a whole page on our website that deals with the various FICA requirements for individuals/companies etc. 

As for the part about what they neglect - well in general everything lol! But it’s important that a buyer brings his original ID, we not allowed to accept a copy, we need to make a physical copy of his ID book.

What are the registration requirements for bidders and what would you say is the reason why registration and a deposit is required

What are the registration requirements for bidders and what would you say is the reason why registration and a deposit is required?

Well, as above all FICA so if a private buyer:

  • Utility Bill (not be older than 3 months) with a current residential address
  • Copy of ID
  • And an R5 000 deposit.

The R5 000 is refundable if the bidder is unsuccessful. Why we require a deposit? Well for one it ensures only serious bidders register at the auction. A buyer who has invested R5 000 will be less likely to renege on his purchase after the auction than someone who has not. A cancelled sale can be very costly not only to the auctioneer but also the under bidder. Imagine you took two days off work to bid on a vehicle, took the time to view the vehicle, then register and then someone else outbids you. You don’t get the vehicle. The following week you see the same vehicle back on auction, wouldn’t you be annoyed? ;)

 So we do it to protect ourselves and our serious buyers in short.  Most auctioneers also guarantee payment to their supplier and will settle the bank after the auction. So that cancellation then can become the stock of the auctioneer and often the auctioneer will re-sell the vehicle again at a loss because the Client who reneged paid too strong for the vehicle.

Would you agree that more people are getting comfortable with the process of buying vehicles at auction and if so - what could be the reason for this?

Yes, I do! Simply put people have less disposable income and have taken the time to educate themselves about auctions. Everyone loves a bargain! Yes, many are still nervous about buying a vehicle on auction and one needs to ensure when you buy at auction that you buy from a reputable company and have made yourself familiar with how the auction works, what the terms are and have done your homework on the vehicle you about to bid on.  Buying on auction takes some effort on the part of the buyer however the savings to be had if you buy like a dealer on auction make the trouble all worthwhile.

Privates at auction are becoming aware that finance is available and that as a private they can purchase a vehicle below trade and save on a dealers mark up!

We see many privates returning who had a positive experience and many come back with friends and family they have sold why buying at auction makes sense.

We have also seen privates who have come to auctions blindly and have had a bad experience. This is why it’s imperative that a new buyer at auction takes the time to view the vehicle and do his research about what the vehicle is selling for in the market before getting caught up in the excitement and hype of a bid.

What do you believe sets the good auctioneer apart from the average one

What do you believe sets the good auctioneer apart from the average one?

I don’t! I come from a school of thought that says the stock will sell itself at auction. Often new buyers at auction ask me the same question daily and it drives me insane - the question is:  What is the starting price of x vehicle?

How’s this relevant to your question you wondering?

I like to answer the starting bid question like this. The question you should rather be asking is what will the ending bid be? We both know the buyer is trying to establish if the vehicle will be in his range off affordability but what if he could afford R70 000 and the starting bid is R40 000, that would be misleading cause the bid could end at R100 000!

The market dictates what a vehicle is worth, mileage, condition, service history and even vehicle popularity all play a part in what the vehicle is ultimately worth! That’s why one needs to look at these factors, and buy like a dealer at the auction! The dealer is informed and does his homework about a particular vehicle before setting his price.

I would agree everyone likes a friendly, patient auctioneer who is audible and considerate to a nervous first-time buyer and has a reputable reputation.

Do you only facilitate the bidding process or are their additional services offered to the bidder - i.e. transfer of vehicles, registration, insurance etc.?

IAA only facilitate the bidding. There are external companies we have partnered with that can offer finance etc.

What would your best advice be to someone bidding at an auction for the first time?

Set a max price you prepared to bid to and stick to it!

What would your best advice be to someone bidding at an auction for the first time

Also view:

Buying Vehicles at an Auction

Vehicle Finance, Car Insurance and Road Safety

Buying a Quality Used Car and Safety on the Road

Buying and Selling a Vehicle - Informed decisions and the Vehicle Retailer

The Online Vehicle Retail Market and Safely Selling Vehicles Online


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