The tightness of the automobile market is detrimental to consumers interested in buying a new or used vehicle. But the low supply of land from dealerships has paid off for local students.
Triplett Tech held an automobile auction on March 26 to sell vehicles to the public that were repaired by the students and raised more money than ever.
For the past five years, Triplett Tech has held an auto auction usually in the spring. The auction was open to the public, but Shenandoah County Public School employees were not permitted to purchase any of the vehicles.
Connie Pangle, director of Triplett Tech, explained that the auctioned cars had been donated to the school for the auto body and technology programs.
“We get a lot of donated cars in December because people want to report the donation on their tax returns for that year,” Pangle said.
This year, Triplett Tech sold 13 cars at auction and won $32,000 – the most money the school has ever made from the auction. All money raised goes back to Triplett Tech and is invested in the body and automotive technology programs.
“The programs use the money to purchase new equipment and keep their stores up to date,” Pangle said. “Last year we used some of the auto auction money to purchase a trailer for the school that can be used by all school programs including carpentry, masonry and electrical. .”
All the vehicles sold at auction were in working order, except one, but all were repaired by the students of the bodywork and auto mechanics courses.
At last year’s auction, the school won $22,000 and there were more vehicles sold than this year. However, Pangle explained that while there weren’t as many vehicles this year, most of them were in much better running condition than those sold last year.
“They were just better performing vehicles. Our kids have taken a little longer to diagnose the issues and fix them so they’re in working order, and that’s making all the difference in the world,” Pangle said.
In auto body and automotive technology courses, students must first diagnose vehicle problems. Then the instructor determines if some of the repairs would be cost effective in order to restore them to working order or if it becomes too costly for the programs.
Pangle says they had a list to determine the most likely value of each car based on the condition they were in, but all the cars sold above the school’s expected price range .
Students usually start working on the vehicles months in advance before the auto auction.
“Unlike other auto shops, we can take our time diagnosing what’s wrong with cars, whereas with shops, time is money,” Pangle said. “We can ask students to understand it, and it’s a good experience for them.”