Getting Into Automotive
The company’s then Chairman, Jim Cox Jr., purchased Manheim Auto Auction, a small operation in Manheim, Pennsylvania, in 1968. Cox had become aware of the fledgling auto auction industry through its ownership of the “Black Book” used car price guides.
Cox purchased the Black Book’s publishing company, National Auto Research Publications, in 1965, and it was considered a standard price guide for used cars. Three years later Gene McDonald, head of the publishing company, heard that a growing company selling used cars was for sale. He passed along his recommendation to buy Manheim Auction to higherups.
Though a departure from the company’s media properties, Manheim met the success requirements of Cox’s other businesses: an emphasis on customer service (not inventory), high operating margins and an industry with lots of growth potential.
The 1980s saw Manheim Auctions acquire its first non-U.S. auction in Toronto, Canada, making Cox an international company. As the 1990s arrived, so did Autotrader.com. Launched in 1997, the online marketplace for car shoppers and sellers became the top automotive classified website by the year 2000.
Today, the many Cox Automotive brands continue to be leaders in their industries for vehicle remarketing, digital marketing and software solutions.
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