Carrie Rengers

What is Manheim Auctions and who’s bringing it to Wichita?

Brandon Steven is at it again with another new business. This time, it’s a wholesale auction company, the international Manheim Auctions.
Brandon Steven is at it again with another new business. This time, it’s a wholesale auction company, the international Manheim Auctions. The Wichita Eagle

After years of trying, Brandon Steven has landed Manheim Auctions.

“It’s a pretty big deal for Wichita,” he says.

The international wholesale auto auction bills itself as the largest in the world. It is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.

The auctions are for dealers only.

Until now, Steven says size – of the market and his dealership – has been an issue for Manheim.

“Finally, my group is big enough now,” he says.

Steven, who says he sells 1,700 cars a month, has 12 brands at 10 locations.

When customers trade in vehicles that don’t pass inspection – meaning ones that maybe have more miles or are older than what he usually sells – Steven then sells the cars wholesale.

Local auctions, though, don’t have the same reach that Manheim offers.

“We don’t get the national reach,” Steven says.

The auctions are online, so dealers anywhere can bid on the cars.

“Manheim brings in a larger crowd,” Steven says.

He expects to sell 200 cars a week.

For now, he’ll have the auctions every Thursday out of an Eddy’s body shop he has at Kellogg and Webb. The first auction is Thursday at 1 p.m.

Within a year or so, Steven plans to build a permanent space.

“I just gotta find room for it first.”

He says he expects he’ll need about four or five acres.

Steven says when he first got into the car business, he had to run to Kansas City and Oklahoma several days every week to go to auctions.

“That was my routine when I was buying cars.”

He says a Manheim Auction could have made his life easier.

“This is just an additional outlet for dealers in Wichita to buy cars,” Steven says.

“It’s a big deal for dealers in Wichita. These guys don’t have to travel as far to get cars.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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