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4 non-traditional inventory sources for auto dealers

hand cleaning the front of a car

The auto industry continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of dealers by providing new inventory sources beyond the traditional method of physical auctions. Let’s take a look at four alternative ways that you can source vehicles for your lot that meet your inventory needs, save you time, and bring in revenue.

Live-streamed auto auctions

Sometimes getting the right inventory requires making purchases from multiple physical auction sites and even buying out of state, but doing that in person isn’t always easy or practical. The good news is that most major traditional auctions now also provide an online auction option. That even includes some of the top independent auctions, like XLerate Group (dba America’s Auto Auction) and ServNet Auction Group.

In many of the online apps, dealers can review run lists, add vehicles to a watch list, set notifications, and place bids—making this an easy and convenient option, all without leaving your office.

There are a number of live-streamed options where the AFC floorplan payment is integrated with the online platform. Check out ADESA US or OPENLANE Canada (formerly ADESA Canada and TradeRev), depending on your location, or CarMax Auctions.

When you are looking for inventory for your lot, don’t forget to leverage sourcing options beyond the traditional physical auctions.

Salvage auctions

Not all the vehicles on a salvage lot are wrecked, damaged, or inoperable. In fact, salvage auctions are a great source of inventory as they offer both clean and clear titles, and lightly damaged vehicles. Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) runs live auctions with cars in the lanes as well as a virtual auction option.

Also, AFC floorplan financing is an integrated payment option when you purchase from IAA. Among the automotive financial services provided are floorplans (some of our competitors might call them “floor plans”) that cater specifically to rebuilders and dismantlers, as more dealers begin to diversify into those fields.

Online-only platforms

In the online-only model, sellers can launch their own live auctions from their smartphones and buyers get first access to fresh trades from franchise dealers. Plus, dealers can enjoy the full end-to-end service experience from anywhere you’re conducting business—your home, your office, or even on vacation! Many online-only platforms offer incentives including lower buy fees, streamlined floorplan financing, inspection services, and transportation.

Here are two great options to explore:

OPENLANE US (formerly BacklotCars)

OPENLANE US. The all-new OPENLANE US brings a fully digital and highly efficient dealer-to-dealer platform featuring a 24/7 “bid-ask” marketplace, along with exclusive access to off-lease inventory not available on other marketplaces. OPENLANE US offers seamless integration not only with AFC floorplans (or floor plans), but also with vehicle inspections and transportation.

OPENLANE Canada (formerly TradeRev and ADESA Canada)

OPENLANE Canada. OPENLANE Canada brings the best of TradeRev and ADESA Canada into one place. With over 60,000 vehicles available every month, 15,000 unique buyers and sellers, and a variety of auction types, it’s never been easier to source and buy your next vehicle. You can even set your AFC floorplan as a default payment method to make the purchasing even easier!


Don’t overlook buying directly from your customers as a potential inventory acquisition channel! In fact, you should be actively advertising in your community and on your lot that you want to buy used cars and trade-in vehicles from your customers. When you end up with vehicles you don’t want to retail back on your own lot, you can always sell them through a dealer-only online platform like BacklotCars or TradeRev. The chances are good that someone will see an opportunity, even if it’s not you.

When you are looking for inventory for your lot, don’t forget to leverage sourcing options beyond the traditional physical auctions.

Disclaimer: Use of auction sources is subject to third-party agreements. AFC does not guarantee the ability to use any auctions and examples are for illustrative purposes only. Dealers should consult their own advisors to make independent business decisions regarding inventory sources. AFC, TradeRev, and BacklotCars are all part of the OPENLANE (formerly KAR Global) family of brands.