1921 - Where it all began...
Manheim’s history can be traced back to an auction centre in central Leeds opened by two Doncaster businessmen, Messers and Fullers.
1922 - The first competition
Local businessman Jesse Lightfoot opens his rival auction house adjacent to Messers and Fullers called Central Auction Mart.
1946 - Eric Myers buys Central Auction Mart
Having recently bought out Messers and Fullers, Lightfoot sells his entire operations to two business partners named Eric Myers and Charles Franks.
1961 – First purpose-built car auction in Europe opens in Rothwell, Leeds
With Central Auction Mart in the sole ownership of the Myers family by now, a compulsory purchase order of his site in 1960 left Eric searching for a new home for the business. A site in Rothwell, just outside Leeds, seemed like the right fit but many thought it was too far out of the city to be successful. Eric’s gamble duly paid off with the opening of the M1 connecting to Leeds just down the road.
1964 – Pioneered use of multi-deck transporters
Transporters used to collect and transport multiple units bought at auction to motor traders for the first time.
1963-1972 – A decade of expansion
Acquisitions and expansion into Middlesbrough, Manchester, Leicestershire (Shepshed) and Gloucestershire (Dursley), means the business now operates five auction centres.
1970 - CAM Transport launched
Seeing the success of his transporters, Eric swiftly sets up CAM Transport, a subsidiary to his auction business. Operating nationally with 80 vehicle transporters.
1971 - The business is renamed Central Motor Auctions (CMA)
1973 – The new kids on the block. Bristol & West Motor Auctions open first auction centre
The UK motor auction market promptly welcomes a new player when the Bailey family launches Bristol & West Motor Auctions just outside Bristol in 1973.
1977 – Integrated vehicle refurb introduced for the first time at Leeds
1978 – CMA auctions plant and machinery equipment for the first time
1980 - CMA sees further growth
Expansion into new sites in Mitcham (London), Bracknell, Glasgow and Bradford sees the CMA business frow further
1986 – John Bailey becomes Managing Director of Bristol & West
1988 – CMA win DVLA contract to auction number plates
1989 – Bristol & West get a taste for expansion
Opening of their second auction centre in Rotherham called M1 Motor Auctions
1990 – CMA Mitcham relocates to Wimbledon—the first multi-storey auction centre in Europe
1991 - AuctionVision launched by Bristol & West
A game-changer for the industry. AuctionVision offers the ability to sell and buy cars at auction for the very first time remotely, with auctions streamed via satellite television.
1992 – Bristol & West and M1 Motor Auctions renamed as Independent Car Auctions (ICA)
1992 – Storage, PDI and refurbishment centre opened at St Albans by CMA
1993 – The start of remarketing as we know it today with the Toyota de-fleet, refurb and auction contract
1993 – Auction pioneer and CMA owner Eric Myers sadly passes away
1996 - Two become one: ICA and Manheim in the US acquire CMA in joint venture
Manheim makes waves by backing Independent Car Auction’s bid for Central Motor Auctions. The acquisition was successful, and the two businesses promptly became one, albeit retaining their own identities for the time being.
The relationship between ICA and Manheim began when John Bailey took his satellite auction product AuctionVision to the states which eventually led to a meeting with Manheim, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. The US auction giants were certainly impressed by the product and a lasting working relationship was formed.
1997 - Launch of Manheim Certified—our first mechanical assurance product
1998 - All UK auction centres renamed Manheim
Following the acquisitions of BRS Auctions and National Car Auction Group, and the opening of a brand-new auction centre at Bristol, all UK operations are renamed Manheim.
1998- 2004 – Manheim extends its service offering
Manheim acquires new specialist services businesses such as VRS, kah:systems and Dent Wizard and opens auction centres in France.
2004 – The age of online auctions begins with the launch of Manheim Simulcast
2004 – Manheim Inspection Services launches
Manheim now provides accurate and reliable consumer end-of-contract inspections to fleet operators.
2005 – Pioneers of the end-to-end remarketing process – Manheim 360 launches
2006 – Manheim re-branded globally to how we recognise it today
The business receives a facelift across the globe with the introduction of its now-famous blue and gold colours and updated logo.
2007-2014 – Manheim enters new European markets
Yet another period of rapid expansion sees the business spread its wings to new European markets with Manheim operations in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and Germany.
During this time, new businesses, many of which are still part of the Cox Automotive family today became part of the Manheim group. These included Modix, dealer-auction.com, Motors.co.uk, RTC, WeWantAnyCar, and the UK arm of NextGear Capital.
2012 – Largest auction centre in Europe opens with four-lane mega centre at Colchester
2014 – Cox Automotive launches globally
Cox Automotive is created and spun off the parent company Cox Enterprises to consolidate all its global automotive businesses under one brand. Along with all its sister brands, Manheim is now part of Cox Automotive, the world’s largest automotive services organisation.
2016 - 2019 – Manheim SureCheck, QuickList Imagery, DataCleanse and CheckPoint launches
Following on from the success of Manheim Certified, SureCheck was launched in 2016 giving buyers added peace of mind about the mechanical condition of a vehicle before auction.
Other innovative product launches followed soon after in response to changing customer needs including DataCleanse, QuickList Imagery and CheckPoint.
2017 – Another UK first with double-blocking auctions launch at Bruntingthorpe
The double-blocking process, which was inspired by our US operations, involves having four rostrums across two lanes. This allows more vehicles to be sold in a shorter period of time.
2018 – We bid a fond farewell to John Bailey
Having forged a massively successful 40-year career, John Bailey retires from the Cox Automotive International business
2020 – Cox Automotive expands its vehicle services offering with C Walton acquisition
Through the Manheim brand, Cox Automotive can now provide vital fleet management and vehicle services on a mass scale to the new and used vehicle markets.
2020 - Manheim Express launches in Germany
The Manheim name expanded into Germany in 2020 with the launch of Manheim Express, an innovative new digital dealer-to-dealer auction platform.
Today, Manheim is comprised of three distinct business units, Manheim Auction Services, Manheim Inspection Services and Manheim Vehicle Services.
Under the leadership of Martin Forbes, President of Cox Automotive International, Manheim and its sister brands are transforming the way the world buys, owns, sells and uses vehicles.