Top 4 Best Auto Auction Websites in Australia

When our clients secure pre-approval finance, they’re often keen to find the best places to buy a car, ute, or van at a bargain price. If the hunt through dealers or private sellers turns up empty, we suggest checking out motor auctions. But a heads-up: make sure to inform your broker or financier about your auction plans, they might need to give you a valuation and approval on how much you are allowed to bid on a vehicle because once the hammer drops, you’re locked in. Also, give the auction house a heads up about your financing the auction purchase with your pre-approval, just so they know they might have to wait for valuations, settlement cut off times, and invoices need to be modified in some cases.

Forget the days of $150 auction fees. The hammer price is just the beginning. Prepare to fork out an extra $700 or more in fees. In some instances, fees can skyrocket to 15% or more, reaching into the thousands.

Australia’s auction scene is bustling, offering everything from cars and utes to vans, trucks, and equipment. Here is some info on the main auto auction players with locations and vehicles that are located Australia wide:

1. Pickles


A heavyweight in the Australian auto auction world, Pickles has seen over 228,000 cars off their lots last financial year alone. Both dealers and private sellers flock here, with a variety of Ex-Lease, Fleet, Repossessed, and Government vehicles up for grabs, alongside private and dealer entries. Their online bidding system and app are pretty slick. However, it’s a bummer that most of their locations have restricted public and dealer access, leaving you to rely on their word and condition reports for vehicle quality.

Previously, Pickles organised live auctions by vehicle location, grouping them into weekly events. Recently, they’ve thrown all their cars into a daily auction mix, making it a tad challenging to track what’s going up where and when.

2. Manheim

Another old player, Manheim (formerly Fowles, later rebranded as ManheimFowles) has been a significant figure in the Australian auction arena for decades. Following the trend, they’re moving away from live auctions. Their roster includes Ex-Lease, Fleet, Repossessed, and Government vehicles, along with private and dealer entries.

I may be wrong but their offering seems to have diminished over the years and you can see the same vehicles going up again and again with reserves that seem a tad high. Also, like Pickles, Manheim also has a dedicated app for live auction bidding on the go.

3. Grays Online

The new kid on the block (relatively speaking), Grays, operates an online-only platform reminiscent of eBay’s selling style. Their auctions typically close around 7pm — just as you’re settling down for dinner or looking to unwind, adding a dash of excitement (or stress) to your evening. Because of the fact anybody can put whatever they want on a Grays auction, the vehicle quality at Grays tends to dip compared to Pickles or Manheim, with a bit of a Wild West vibe due to scant condition reports. And if you snag a vehicle under $10k, they’ll try and charge the full amount on your credit card on file, plus a card fee. A bit odd that there’s no alternative payment option. They do let you check out and start the vehicles on-site, which is a plus, and they’re not shy about selling their pre-purchase inspections. Fees are not too bad generally sit between 5%-7%.

4. Lloyds Auctions

A longstanding auction house, Lloyds, focuses on online auctions that culminate in a final “live” bid. While they offer a range of regular vehicles, their forte is classic, sports, and collector cars. Fees are on the higher side, but transparency is their game, showing all costs upfront during bidding. Bidding here can get intense — unlike other auctions where bid increments decrease as the end nears, Lloyds’ increments increase, potentially causing price jumps by thousands in seconds.

In the hunt for your next vehicle, navigating Australia’s motor auction landscape can be a thrilling yet daunting adventure. From the vast offerings at Pickles and Manheim to the newer, online-focused approach of Grays, and the niche, high-stakes world of Lloyds, there’s something for every buyer. Just remember, the excitement of the auction comes with its own set of rules and fees. Whether you’re a seasoned bidder or a first-timer, understanding these auction houses’ ins and outs can significantly enhance your buying experience. Armed with a pre-approval finance and a keen eye, you’re all set to make your next vehicle purchase an auction win.

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