Manheim Darlington’s new facility brings progress and jobs
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
For businesses large and small, convenience and efficiency are the watchwords of the day, and Manheim Darlington Auto Auction is making a big leap forward to offer a competitive advantage to their clients. In just a few weeks, Manheim’s new Retail Solutions facility will be fully operational, providing their vehicle dealer clients with a one-stop shop for used auto reconditioning and repair.
Manheim Darlington sits on 125 acres situated at 1111 Harry Byrd Highway, with most of that space dedicated to storage or sale inventory. Their new Retail Solutions facility is located on the property’s western border near the Darlington Raceway, and while it is currently a work in progress, it will soon boast some of the best available technology for automobile servicing and marketing.
“In three weeks, this place is going to look completely different,” says Manheim Darlington general manager Danny Brawn.
The 48,000 square-foot Retail Solutions building will have 32 lifts in the inspection area where technicians will go over every vehicle with a fine-toothed comb and evaluate what needs attention.
“It will be an over 200 point inspection… we’ll check every light, every window, take the tires and wheels off to make sure the rotors are good. We do full paint and body repair. Anything that you can imagine, we’ll take care of right here,” says Brawn.
Once any mechanical and/or body needs are handled and the vehicle is running great and looking its best, it could roll into the Retail Solutions photo booth for some optional glamour shots.
To better inform – and tempt – the online customers of Manheim’s retail clients, this photography booth will render high-resolution images of vehicles with 360-degree pan and zoom flexibility, letting buyers examine their potential purchase from every angle. This cutting edge technology is still quite rare, and gives Manheim Darlington clients another unique way to enhance customer confidence in the new frontier of Internet auto sales.
“We’re really excited about this, since there isn’t another one around that we know of,” says Brawn. “It will provide the highest resolution images available… and the background can either be a generic white or we can brand it with logos for dealer clients like DriveTime.com.”
Such online savvy should come as no surprise, given that Manheim’s parent company Cox Automotive is affiliated with media giant Cox Communications, and their sister companies include go-to web resources like Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. This combination of forward-looking business models and steady history give Manheim Darlington a grounding in two worlds that many firms can’t claim.
While the name on their sign may have changed 25 years ago when Manheim purchased Clanton’s Auto Auction, the Darlington business is turning 73 this year, making it the longest continuously operating auto auction in South Carolina. With 80 locations in North America and 120 globally, parent company Manheim is one of the world’s largest automobile wholesalers, with thousands of dealers utilizing their auctions every week.
Manheim Darlington’s 73rd anniversary sale, held May 26, was a beehive of activity, with eight lanes and eight auctioneers churning up bids and rolling out “Sold!” vehicles at breakneck pace. But Brawn says the actual auction represents only a fraction of the work hours dedicated to making those sale events happen.
“We spend the majority of our time preparing for the sale and finishing up the sale, more time than we do actually selling,” says Brawn, noting that Manheim employees are in constant motion every Thursday doing everything from post-sale quality inspections to vehicle transport and delivery.
Manheim Darlington currently has 158 employees (full time and part time) and 75 more jobs will be added by the end of 2016 to staff the Retail Solutions center. Positions will range from entry level slots to certified master level technicians, condition report inspectors, painters, body technicians, and photographers, as well as support staff to handle posting, procurement, parts, administration, and quality control. To get a head start on filling these positions, Manheim held a hiring event May 25 and interviewed dozens of potential hires. If you are interested in learning more about those opportunities, applications are available online at www.Manheim.jobs.