Selling Jargon

We'll help you get to know your Vendors from your VCAR, and your Reserve from your Rostrum.

At Manheim, we live and breathe car and commercial vehicle auctions. This explains why sometimes we talk in our own unique language of words, phrases and acronyms that we expect everyone else to understand too. This useful guide to our selling jargon will help make you fluent in the unique auction lingo.

All vehicles are assessed by Manheim's professional inspectors and fully graded according to their condition

Everything A - F fully explained

From an auction catalogue to a finance house and everything in between, learn the meanings right here.
Jargon A - F

Auction catalogue
These are produced for every Manheim auction, showing each vehicle available and including important details such as the lot number, registration, mileage, MOT, and more. Catalogues are available online and also available for a small fee on the sale day at the auction centre itself.

Established in 1967, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the trade body for companies engaged in the leasing and rental of cars and commercial vehicles.

Commercial vehicles
We mean vans, trucks, trailers and plant.

Condition report
This is a detailed Manheim report prepared by our expert assessors, containing a full description of the vehicle including any visible damage. More commonly known as an inspection report.

Contract hire
A rental agreement provided by leasing companies. Former contract hire vehicles for sale through Manheim auctions were previously leased by an individual or a company.

These are trade customers who buy and sell vehicles at auction. 

The DVLA is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. This is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT) and part of the Motoring Services Group.

Entry form
This is the form sellers complete with full vehicle details before the vehicle can go through the auction.

Fall of the hammer
When bidding ends, the auctioneer will bang his hammer to tell bidders that the vehicle is sold and no further bids will be taken. This is called, the ‘fall of the hammer’.

Featured sales
This section on the Manheim website shows forthcoming special auctions – often from particular manufacturers, leasing companies, or dealer groups.

Finance houses
These are companies concerned primarily with providing funding, e.g. for the leasing of vehicles.


Everything G - N fully explained

Here's where we explain the meaning of auction words and phrases such as hammer price, lot numbers, non-runners and more.
Jargon G - O

Hammer price
When the final bid is accepted and the vehicle is sold, the auctioneer brings down the hammer - this is the hammer price.

Inspection report
This is a detailed Manheim report prepared by our expert assessors, containing a full description of the vehicle including any visible damage.

Leasing company
These are companies who lease vehicles to companies and the general public through a financial arrangement over a defined period of time.

Local utilities company
Any organisation which provides services to the general public, although it may be privately owned, such as gas, electric and water. A local utilities vehicle is almost always a commercial vehicle previously used by the local utility company itself.

Log book
This is the all-important vehicle registration document, also known as V5C. 

Lot number
This is the unique number allocated to every vehicle in a Manheim auction. It will be clearly displayed on the vehicle – usually on the windscreen – and also listed in the catalogue.

They are the companies that produce the vehicle itself, often referred to as the original equipment manufacturer or OEM.

NAMA stands for the National Association of Motor Auctions. Our vehicle gradings are carried out to NAMA approved and defined standards. 

Non runners
These vehicles won’t start.

The original equipment manufacturer, the company that produces the vehicle itself.

Open / closed auction
Open auctions can be attended by all buyers. Closed auctions can only be attended by specially invited buyers.


If a vehicle is under 8 years old and valued at more than £1,000, sellers can set a reserve price before it goes to auction

Everything O - R fully explained

We'll make sure you're up to speed, with a clear description of everything from an open auction to the rostrum.
Jargon P - R

This is an industry term that includes a variety of wheeled and non-wheeled assets. Anything from cranes, forklifts, excavators and grass cutting machinery to towable trailers and handheld tools.

Private buyers
These tend to be members of the general public and not from the trade.

Private cars
Vehicles entered into the car auction by members of the general public.

Provisional sale
Many sellers set a reserve price at which they’d like their vehicle to be sold. When the highest bid fails to reach the reserve, we call this a provisional sale. If this happens we’ll contact the seller to see if they'll accept the highest bid instead.

Sometimes, vehicles arrive at auction with minor damage. Manheim’s highly trained technicians can repair dents, scuffs, scratches and minor damage.

We use this term to describe the entire process for the re-sale of used vehicles. This refers to the wholesale not the retail process.

Reserve price
A reserve is the minimum price set by the seller for the sale of their vehicle. This price is always kept confidential and if the reserve price isn’t reached the auctioneer may look to sell the vehicle provisionally.

This is the podium where the Manheim auctioneer stands.

Everything S - Z fully explained

Whether it's listed as sold as seen or comes with warranted mileage, we want you to be totally clear about what everything means.
Jargon S - Z
Sold as seen
Sold as seen vehicles are offered for sale with no guarantee or promise about mechanical condition or quality.

This is Manhiem’s pre-auction inspection service on vehicles and a promise to make it right when a buyer purchases a SureCheck vehicle with a problem.

The sale
Also known as the auction.

This is the term we use to describe customers from the motor trade.

VCAR stands for Vehicle Condition and Alert Register. If a vehicle has had extensive repairs which are registered on a vehicle database, this will be highlighted as VCAR.

People or companies selling vehicles at Manheim auctions.

Warranted mileage
Where the seller  confirms the mileage of the vehicle they are selling is correct.

Where next?

For more answers to the questions you want resolving, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.


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