Jane Morgan is an auction veteran who has been with ADESA for more than 26 years. As the president of ADESA’s specialty division, she has a deep knowledge base about a unique segment of our business, but she also has a wide variety of experiences within the industry.

Here’s what Jane shared about her newly expanded role, now including mobile auctions.

How did you find this niche in the industry, running ADESA’s specialty division?

That has been a fun journey! I started in remarketing as controller at what is now Manheim’s Dallas Auto Auction. Then I jumped to ADESA as controller and then into management with ADESA Dallas. Moving east, I became general manager at ADESA Charlotte for nine years then moved into the management of ADESA’s eastern region. When ADESA announced the creation of a new specialty sales division, Bob Rauschenberg (EVP of sales and marketing) said there was no question who would serve in the role of president. Bob wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, in 2008, I became president of this new division.

How is specialty different from the standard whole car auction business?

Many of the sellers are the same, but the buyers are different. In fact, the crossover of our customers from whole car to specialty is less than 1 percent. We have a finite group of buyers, and it’s a very competitive market.

We have different trends too: There are fewer repossessions during the good weather months—consumers want their “toys” during those times, so the finance companies/banks have low inventories. Sometimes, the dealer trades increase because new purchases are made.

Our market has its own trade magazines, so advertising channels are different. And there are many specific magazines for the four biggest segments: RV, heavy-duty trucks, boats and powersports/motorcycles.

How big is the specialty division team?

We have seven dedicated team members, and there are also support and specialty managers at the auctions. Our team’s skills are specialized to these products. For instance, our condition report writers are trained for all types of specialty. And our team has to be skilled at pricing units appropriately. Pricing specialty units requires a certain level of analysis, because there’s so much variety in what crosses the blocks during a specialty sale.

As president of specialty auctions divisions, can you share a little bit about your role and your key focus areas?

I like to think there are two areas of focus for our specialty auction division: customers and auctions.

For the customer, we offer a consistent experience across our auctions—same certification programs, same condition report standards. Everything should be the same high quality no matter where the clients offer their inventory. We educate our clients too, helping them to understand their products through a training program by segment or an Auction 101 if they have never used auctions. And we share our data and our expertise: We price inventory every day so we can help them determine the value of their assets based on our data and on our experience.

Our division is also a support system for our auctions. For the auction, it means that we help bring buyers and sellers to their auctions, and we train the auction staff about specialty or a particular segment of the business. We monitor for consistency and standardization, and we represent the company at industry functions.

What’s new in specialty?

ADESA recently acquired Brasher’s auctions, which has a lot to offer our specialty division. One of these auctions, ADESA Northwest, was recently named U.S. Bank’s specialty auction of the year. Specialty is a big part of what they do. I’m looking forward to working closely with these new locations.

What are some of the unique vehicles you have seen cross the block at a specialty auction sale?

We see some really great units! One memorable item was a HeliCat at ADESA Golden Gate. That was a really fun thing to offer.

People get pretty creative with their customization of their “toys”—like this jet ski plus. It was ingenious really, with a windshield and holder for cooler. We see converted buses, fancy RVs, yachts, unique golf carts, turf-type equipment.

Can you share an overview of how ADESA’s mobile auctions work?

Basically, when a customer has a grouping of inventory that for various reasons they do not want to move to another location, we will offer to bring the auction to them. Our mobile unit will have online capabilities so that a dealer can register to buy or sell, we can check in units, sell units, collect payment, work titles and release the vehicles. Dealers may even buy remotely.

How do mobile auctions operate compared to auctions at an ADESA facility?

Right now we are perfecting our prototype units for mobile auctions, customizing them to work with our system.

We’ve held a number of mobile sales already but not with this technology. We’re looking forward to having multiple units in different areas of the country, with their own staff.

Hellicat at GG
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Jane Morgan in a HeliCat