Car Auction Collapse Claims Kruse

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Following on from Honda’s loss of Facebook over the Crosstour—or loss of Crosstour over the Facebook— here’s another story where the web pulls the rug from under auto industry types seeking to hide the truth. We’ve been saying it forever (in Internet terms): the collector car market has collapsed. Well, duh. But the mainstream media and specialist press has both been happy to perpetuate the myth perpetuated by the auction houses that their business has been defying gravity. See? Cars are selling for phenomenal prices! Meanwhile, Hagerty’s CARS THAT MATTER (must do, given the shift lock situation) is telling readers to pay attention to the men behind the curtain.

To wit: in an email to subs, the price guide outs an ailing auction house: “The half-empty parking lots of Kruse Auction Park hint at the real story: According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Kruse faces legal actions in excess of $16 million. It seems that the various companies that make up the Kruse empire have had some trouble paying their bills, including the mortgage on the auction facility, American Express charges, and other loans. Perhaps more disconcerting to car collectors is that Kruse’s many creditors reportedly include over 60 sellers who have yet to be paid for vehicles that were auctioned.” It gets worse.

In his defense, company patriarch Dean Kruse told the Fort WayneNews-Sentinel that he is owed some $6.5 million from previous auctions and just needs to generate some revenue this weekend to keep the wolves at bay. Indeed, the Labor Day weekend proceeds are subject to court garnishment in order to pay the mortgage lender. Clearly, Kruse needs a great sale, however unlikely that may be. As of Saturday morning, the Kruse Web site lists 1,749 vehicles in its online catalog, far shy of a typically inflated claim of “5,000 cars.” Firsthand observations confirm a sparse staging area, and few truly marquee automobiles. To make money as an auctioneer you don’t necessarily need particularly high quality cars, but in that case, you do need numbers. This year, Kruse seems to have neither.

Again, it’s a good time to buy, a lousy time to sell. How hard is that to understand? Of course, it’s not all truth and reconciliation on the web. Edmunds, post-Monterey: “Numbers are down, but things could have been much worse had the economy not recently made a push upward.” Or the auction houses hadn’t managed the quality of the lots to keep the pig smothered in lipstick. Just sayin’. As is our wont.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Rodney Rodney on Jan 05, 2010

    My name is Rodney, and i too am a victim of Kruse Auctions. They chose to, and still after over 4 months, have not payed me for my car they sold. This seems to be quite a re-occurring experience, them not paying people. I have posted my story in my blog where i hope more people can post their experiences and eventually get something done about this ongoing saga. I welcome anyone here to come read it, and or post your Kruse auction experiences. Look forward to hearing from you.

  • Dean Kruse Is a Scumbag Dean Kruse Is a Scumbag on Nov 24, 2022

    Dean Kruse is a scumbag. He ripped my family off and I contacted his minister son who promised to have his dad call us - it never happened. I hope their entire family gets herpes. Sacks of garbage!

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  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars