“Green cars,” such as hybrid electric vehicles, now have their own designated used-vehicle auction.

It may be a sign that those fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles are becoming more mainstream.

Manheim and AutoTrader Publishing co-hosted a first-of-its-kind “green” vehicle sale Oct. 10 at Manheim Seattle, previously the South Seattle Auto Auction.

The sale gave dealers direct access to fuel-efficient vehicles to help meet a rising demand by their customers for more eco-friendly vehicles.

Fuel-efficient vehicles getting better than 30 mpg, including HEVs, were offered for sale at the 10-lane facility.

“We've seeing a greater demand for fuel-efficient vehicles from our dealers than ever before,” says Julie Picard, Manheim Seattle's general manager. “This sale gives our customers convenient access to the inventory they need to address changing remarketing trends.”

More than 200,000 HEVs were sold in the U.S. in 2006. Global Insight predicts HEV sales will peak, then level off at 5%-6% of total light-vehicle market share by 2012.

Dealers who participated in the green auction, either as sellers or buyers, were eligible to participate in an AutoTrader Green special promotion.

The promotion allows dealers who purchase an ad in AutoTrader Green to receive a complimentary service from Manheim Seattle, such as free detailing.

AutoTrader Green - the nation's only automotive classified publication exclusively dedicated to fuel-efficient vehicles - was launched in the Seattle Portland area in August. Expanded distribution plans are in the works.

“AutoTrader Green is committed to dealers and this important segment of the market,” says John McCormick, an AutoTrader Publishing vice president. “We are also thrilled to partner with Manheim to help meet the increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Manheim says the special sale ties into its “Go Green” initiative, a company-wide conservation effort.

Manheim is planning to expand future “green vehicle sales” nationally under a new brand called “Manheim Green.”