Government Car Auctions Offer Big Savings to Vehicle Importers

According to, the U.S. government runs more than 4,000 vehicle auctions each month. These include online and local live auctions within every American state.

Cars for sale at some auctions can have starting bids as low as $100. Winning bids can represent a savings of up to 95% from a vehicle’s original value.

There are 2 primary sources for automobiles sold at U.S. government auctions:

  • Vehicles that government agencies or police seize from people convicted of tax evasion or other serious crimes
  • Government surplus or pre-owned vehicles.

Depending on an individual vehicle’s usage, auctioned autos are often in surprisingly good condition. Examples of Car Auction Savings reserves current details about live and online car auctions for registered members. The website does give examples of compelling savings that already enrolled members have won at auctions; a few of those are listed below.

  • 2009 BMW 328i sold for $22,400 in California ($37,325 book value, $14,925 savings)
  • 2005 Honda Civic sold for $3,900 in Arizona ($12,405 book value; $8,505 savings)
  • 2008 Ford Mustang sold for $9,050 in Michigan ($15,055 book value; $6,005 savings).

Generally, consumers can attend government car auctions in the U.S. free of charge.

Vehicle Importers Save Cash at U.S. Government Car Auctions

As the Canadian dollar strengthens, Canadians can expect even more significant savings when they buy vehicles at U.S. government auctions priced in American currency.

Even some of the lowest prices available on Canada’s AutoTrader website are much higher than the winning bids at U.S. government auctions. Amounts from the AutoTrader listings below have been converted into U.S. dollars.

  • 2009 BMW 328i listed at $39,800 ($17,400 or 80% higher than U.S. auction price)
  • 2005 Honda Civic listed at $14,000 ($10,100 or 260% higher)
  • 2008 Ford Mustang listed at $25,000 ($16,000 or 176% higher).

With savings in some cases approaching $20,000 per vehicle, it should come as no surprise that more and more Canadian consumers and commercial importers are bidding in U.S. government car auctions.

Costs of Importing Vehicles Bought at U.S. Car Auctions

There are additional charges when a Canadian resident buys a vehicle at a U.S. car auction. Depending on the state where car sale is made, there can be state taxes added to the final bid price. States such as Oregon, Delaware and Michigan do not impose state taxes on automobiles for export.

Most car auctions impose auctioneer fees which are added to the final purchase price. Auctioneer fees must be included in the value of the imported vehicles declared to Canadian customs officials, and on which the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable before the vehicles can be put on the road in Canada.

U.S. Government Automobile Auctions Save Money But Take Time

If consumers or commercial importers are looking for specific vehicle models, makes, colors or special features and accessories, they will probably have to visit a number of automobile auctions.

This investment of time and effort can eventually pay off. All participants want to successfully bid for a suitable vehicle and win an auction with the lowest possible bid.

Research firms like that specialize in automobile auctions have a host of web tools that can help members navigate the latest car auction searches in every U.S. state – including online car auctions.

These tools include the latest reports of what vehicles are available at car auctions with Google maps. The latter pinpoints the exact locations of where the automobile auctions will take place.