NDDOT to add online vehicle auctions

BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Department of Transportation auctions vehicles it can no longer use and now the NDDOT says it's putting vehicle bids online as well.

NDDOT says these auction sales will be managed by State Fleet Services but the online auctioneer will be Troy Orr of Orr Auctioneers out of Jamestown. The NDDOT says depending on what type of vehicle it is and how many years it keeps it, the state will dispose of the vehicles through live auctions.

The owner of L & J Motors in Mandan says about 50% of his vehicles were purchased through online auctions.

But he says auctioning online comes with pros.

"I think it's good for the people out of town, they don't have to drive in," said Jim Wetch.

He also says there are cons.

"Yeah, you can get some cars with bad transmissions and bad motors if you're not there checking them out," Wetch added.

Wetch says he goes to both live auctions and buys online and he thinks it will add more competition within the state's auction environment, especially through dealers because more people will bid higher prices.

"The industry is going more digital, and more online, so we decided that we would try our hand at it this year. We have had a lot of public asking us to do it, so we're going to go for it this year," said Robin Rehborg, director of State Fleet Services.

NDDOT says it will still have live, in-person auctions, the online portion is just an addition.

"On top of the price of the vehicle they buy, there will be a 2.9% buyers fee and that will be whether they buy the vehicle online or if it is onsite," said Rehborg.

But Wetch says what the NDDOT is asking for as the buyers fee is pretty reasonable, because it's expensive to run it online.

Rehborg says it will have 68 vehicles to be auctioned, ranging from sedans, big box trucks, a few pick-ups and snow plow trucks.