Skip to content

Buying cars at an auction? Use tools in your CarGurus dashboard to prepare

Posted by Alex Leifer on October 2, 2018

Car auctions are an essential way to increase and improve used inventory—and they are the bread and butter for many dealers. Because they can be fast-paced, high-intensity settings though, knowing which vehicles you are going to bid on and how much you are willing to pay before you get to the car auction is crucial.

Within your CarGurus dashboard are a number of tools to help you prepare so you can find the perfect cars to buy at the auction for your lot. In this post, we are going to look at how you can use those tools—and the data they provide—to set yourself up for success.

Consider the following questions before and during an auction and use CarGurus tools to stock the right cars and set up your lot for a quicker turn rate.

1. Which cars in your inventory are getting the most views?

When preparing for an auction, the best starting point in your dashboard is the Vehicle Detail Page tab. The graph at the top will show you your total VDP views for the month, but scroll down past it for a detailed breakdown of your entire inventory. Click on the Views column to sort your listings by most views and easily identify which of your cars shoppers are looking at the most. But this information isn’t everything—you also want to see which cars are getting leads and connections.


2. Which of your cars are receiving the most leads and connections?

On the same Vehicle Detail Page tab, you’ll also see how many leads you have received for each of your cars. And if you have a paid listings package, the number of connections, including website clicks and map views, will be shown too. Dig deeper into your leads by going to the Leads tab in the top right corner of your dashboard. Adjust the date range for your leads report and sort it by car. This will show you every lead submitted for each of your cars during your selected time period.

Did a particular model that you sold recently get a lot of email and phone leads? Take note of which cars have gotten the most interest—that’s a great indication of which cars you might want to look for at the auction.


3. Which cars are popular in your local market?

While the volume of leads for specific cars is a good indication that you should consider adding more of that car to your inventory, you can also dig deeper to identify which vehicles are being searched for the most that you don’t have.

With a paid listings package, you get access to the Market Analysis Tool, which allows dealers to identify in-demand vehicles in their local area. Located right within the dashboard, it automatically shows you the top searches by model in your area, but you can also enter a specific make and model to see the search volume in your area for that particular vehicle. The higher the number of Searches per Inventory Piece, the more likely it is that there are a lot of people looking for that vehicle, but not that much inventory out there. This insight is hugely valuable because you can use it to inform your purchasing decisions at the auction.


4. Are you getting a good deal at the auction?

You can’t prepare in advance for every car that comes up at the auction—and that’s okay. While you’re there, you can use the Car Values tool at the top of the CarGurus homepage to find out what a car is worth. Simply fill out the car’s information (make, model, year, trim, etc.), and we’ll give you the CarGurus Instant Market Value. This way you have an idea of how you’ll need to price the car to move it quickly and turn a profit, before you even buy it.

When you know what a given car is worth, it’s easier to have the confidence to move quickly on a good deal at the auction—or to have the discipline to walk away if the bidding gets too high.


Now that you know which of your cars are getting a lot of leads, which cars are in-demand in your area, and how much those cars are worth, it’s time to head to the auction.

Need help putting all this information together before an auction? Contact your CarGurus Account Manager and we can walk you through it—and if you don’t have one, call us!

Topics: auction, dealer dashboard, market analysis, pricing tool, tips and tricks