So far in 2003, 1,700 vehicles valued at $25 million have been purchased via Simulcast, Manheim Auctions’ new online system, according to Joe Luppino, Manheim Auctions vice president and chief operating officer for Manheim Interactive. Simulcast allows dealers to electronically bid on and buy vehicles as they are moving through auction lanes.Luppino said 3,500 dealers have used Simulcast this year. The 1,700 transactions accounted for 12-15 percent of total sales in the lanes where they ran.The company said dealers’ growing comfort level with the service was evident at a recent DaimlerChrysler sale at Florida Auto Auction of Orlando, where 53 dealers viewed the sale on Simulcast. More than 730 online bids were accepted, and 22 dealers from nine states purchased 157 vehicles.Manheim currently has 62 auction lanes at 16 auctions operating on Simulcast, with 20 consignors, including both dealers and commercial accounts, selling vehicles on the system. The company anticipates that Simulcast will be installed in 160 lanes at 32 auctions by the end of May 2003.A freak snow storm that hit Denver in late March provided more anecdotal evidence of Simulcast's growth. Denver Auto Auction held a General Motors sale on March 20 and sold more than 50 cars, in spite of the fact that five feet of snow kept dealers and auction employees -- including general manager Tom Strickland -- from making it to the auction. GM and Manheim decided to use Simulcast to conduct the sale live on the Web from Atlanta.Of the more than 400 GM vehicles slated to be run through the lanes that day, only about one-third had an electronic condition report, and even fewer had a photo. Yet dealers bid on more than 80 cars. At the end of the sale, 53 vehicles had changed hands.