A chance to buy Uncle Sam's used cars

May 04, 1997


Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Tri-State area residents will have a chance later this month to bid on more than 200 used federal government vehicles at the Mason-Dixon Auto Auction in Greencastle.

It's the first time government cars have been available at auctions in the region, said Dave Utzinger, marketing director at Mason-Dixon Auto Auction on U.S. 11 in Greencastle.

The first government sale will be held here on Tuesday, May 13, at 10 a.m.

Utzinger, 54, landed a one-year renewable contract with the federal government to sell about 1,200 used fleet vehicles. It will take three-and-a-half hours to sell the 200 vehicles lined up for the first sale. "We sell about one a minute," Utzinger said.


Buyers can inspect the vehicles on Friday, May 9, and Monday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on the morning of the sale.

Buyers will be split evenly between private individuals and automobile dealers, Utzinger said. Mason-Dixon auctions cater to both.

The cars to be sold come from all government agencies. Most are four-door sedans from the Big Three automakers, although Chrysler Corp. cars make up most of the first lot. All have about 40,000 miles or less.

The government replaces its fleet vehicles about every three years, Utzinger said.

"They buy 20,000 and 30,000 at a time," he said. "Most are 1993 and '94 models. They'll sell for between $5,000 and $6,000 each."

Utzinger sent out flyers on the sale to about 3,500 previous buyers, including dealers, fleet buyers and county and municipal government officials. He said the sale should bring in about $1.2 million.

There will be six government vehicle sales this year. "I'm already lining up cars for the June sale," he said.

The regular sale night is Tuesday. Every week dealers and individuals bring 500 or more vehicles to the sale. Only half are sold. Most unsold vehicles are held for the next auction.

Increases in business like the government sale plus fleet and local government sales that Mason-Dixon has gained in recent years is causing the company to double its office space.

Construction that will add 6,000 square feet of new office space will be ready for occupancy in June, Utzinger said. With it will be a corresponding need to add five new full-time employees to the 12 now on the job.

Part-time workers, including auctioneers, clerks, security staff, notaries and drivers number in the 80s on sale days, he said.

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