With the new feature, appropriately called BaT Auctions, the site is hoping to bring its high quality, low quantity ethos to the world of online car auctions. Unlike eBay Motors, not just any vehicle can get in. Each selection is curated, and in a novel twist, BaT's fervent commenter base get to discuss the car for six days before the 24-hour sale actually begins.
To keep sellers from getting ripped off, bidders have to put down a deposit and register a credit card beforehand. Also, in an interesting move designed to prevent bid sniping, if there is a bid anytime within the last three minutes of the auction, then the timer resets back to three minutes on the clock.
With three cars this week to kick things off, BaT plans to tweak the auction process as needed in the future. "Our goal is to create the absolute best way to buy and sell the best cars of all time, and we know that's something that will take us time to get just right," said Bring a Trailer co-founder Gentry Underwood to Autoblog via email. Scroll down to read more on the company's announcement.
The best place to find the best cars of all time
What is Bring a Trailer?
Bring a Trailer is one of the most popular sites on the web for people interested in buying and selling classic cars. Our curated format showcases the very best vehicles that appear for sale all over the world. An active reader base helps vet the cars and their respective histories, and we proudly offer exclusive listings of vehicles that can be found nowhere else.
What's new with Bring a Trailer?
Today we're launching a brand new version of Bring a Trailer that combines a cleaner and more mobile-friendly layout with new weekly auctions ("BaT Auctions").
What are BaT Auctions?
For years Bring a Trailer has been offering "BaT Exclusives" - unique vehicles that are for sale only at BaT and at fixed asking prices. After listing over 900 cars this way, we've learned that one of the hardest things to get right is price: sometimes a car goes in minutes with lots of people upset they missed it, other times the car sits for a while.
To improve the buying experience and create a more fluid marketplace, we're excited to launch BaT Auctions, a once-a-week event where a carefully-selected collection of cars are sold to the highest bidders. Each week we'll offer a 6-day preview of the cars to be sold, then hold a 24-hour auction.
How are BaT Auctions different than massive generalist auction websites?
• Curation: much like many of the great physical auctions, BaT Auctions offer carefully selected examples of the most interesting cars of all time. As with BaT Exclusives in the past, anyone can apply to list their vehicle, but we select only the cars we'd want to own ourselves, and those offered at realistic prices. This keeps the quality high and the quantity lower, which makes for a much more entertaining experience, even if you don't end up with one of the cars yourself.
• Transparency: we let our community discuss the cars that are listed by leaving the comment stream open during the entire life of the listing, including the 6-day preview period and the auction itself. This reduces the surprises and helps the buyer bid with confidence.
• Serious bidders only: bidding requires a credit card and a deposit, so there's less gaming and more putting-your-money-where-your-keyboard-is. Our system also extends end times to eliminate disappointing sniping.
How are BaT Auctions different than physical auctions?
• Integrity: rather than spin a vague yarn about how each car is perfect, we endeavor to be diligent in our presentation, and we let our community discuss the details of cars that are listed via comments. Our goal is to help match buyers with the right car, not talk up a car to set price records.
• Participate from anywhere: much like a physical auction, BaT Auctions groups distinctive cars into events, but with the added bonus that bidders can fully participate from anywhere via computer or smartphone.
• Affordability: Physical auction houses can charge as much as 20% between seller commissions and buyer premiums to sell a car at auction. BaT's service fee model is 5% of the sale price with a very reasonable cap of $5000.
Who's behind Bring a Trailer?
Bring a Trailer was founded in 2007 by Randy Nonnenberg and Gentry Underwood, two friends who were exchanging far too many emails about cool cars for sale on sites like Craigslist and eBay. They started the site as a way to share what they were finding, first among a group of friends and then with the broader public.