CAT auction moves equipment

Internet bidders snapped up many items for Canada, Mexico

A row of Cat hydrolic excavators which sold from around $90,000 to $25,000 on display at the auction.

To the delight of some and the dismay of others, one piece of construction equipment after another sold Tuesday for prices well below the amounts they would have fetched a couple years earlier.

Louis Iglesias makes a living by purchasing construction equipment at low prices in the United States and reselling in Mexico at much higher prices.

That’s why he was at the Mesa County Fairgrounds on Tuesday for the Caterpillar heavy-equipment auction, which was held to sell off surplus equipment from local contractors and rental yards.

And the prices were even lower than Iglesias was used to seeing.

“Even when the economy was booming (in the western United States), we were buying here,” Iglesias said.

Now that the economy is down, he’s cleaning up. He purchased a 2007 loader for $26,000. Brand new, two years ago, the machine sold for more than $100,000, he said.

“I think that was the best (deal),” Iglesias said.

Some equipment was purchased for use in western Colorado, but many of the deals were snapped up by Internet bidders, who would send equipment to Canada and Mexico.

“There ain’t no work here,” said Joe Weaver, operations manager for MB Construction.

“I’m glad I ain’t got nothing here to sell. The prices are just not there.”

The low prices caught everyone’s attention. Most estimated the prices were 50 percent to 75 percent off retail pricing.

“I expected it to be more than that,” said a John Deere Construction Equipment territory manager who asked to remain anonymous.

He said his chief concern was how the auction would affect his business.

“This is going to hurt resale values for a long time,” he said. “It’s not just here. It is happening everywhere. Nationwide, they (Caterpillar) are dumping their equipment.”

Another local equipment salesman, who did not want his or his employer’s name printed, said he was disappointed in the auction.

“I think it is going to flood the market,” he said. “It is going to be hard for the market to recover.”

The crowd size ebbed and flowed through the course of the 95-degree day, with a few hundred people filling the seats under an inflatable auction tent. CAT Auction Services auctioneers worked the crowd as each piece of equipment was displayed, one by one, on a large screen and live on the Internet.

“They got a good auction. I like their system,” said Kelly Hubbard of Gateway Excavation.

Hubbard said he was not there to buy. He only came down to enjoy the shade under the broad brim of his cowboy hat and to watch.

“You got to have a job (to buy) that stuff,” Hubbard said.

That’s why Antonio Trujillo was in a buying mood.

Trujillo, who traveled to Grand Junction with Iglesias, manages his father’s quarry,

Triturados Volcanicos, in Mexico City.

He said he plans to expand the business because construction companies there are demanding more of his product, and to keep up he decided to invest in some new equipment.

Trujillo said prices in Mexico are much more expensive than in the United States, and he went to the Mesa County Fairgrounds to buy two pieces of equipment. But he was so impressed with what he found that he purchased three pieces of equipment: one for earth-moving, one for loading and a dump truck for hauling.

“We were surprised, the loaders were extremely low (priced),” Trujillo said.


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