In remarketing their off-lease vehicles, some auto makers try to lure wholesale used-car buyers to auto auctions by offering them chances to win trips, prizes and assorted goodies.

But such contest enticements came under fire from some attendees of the National Remarketing Conference in San Diego.

Rapping the practice of giving away the likes of “golf clubs, trinkets and trash,” is Horacio Trujillo, Mercedes-Benz Financial's director-remarketing. “If I give a barbecue away next year, pull out a gun and shoot me.”

Such gifts shouldn't go to dealership managers, says Tammy Darvish, vice president of DARCARS Automotive Group in Silver Spring, MD.

Instead, the money spent on such things should be used to lower dealers' vehicle transport fees, she says.

Darvish would rather see her dealership group's wholesale car buyers participating in online auctions. They are cheaper, faster and eliminate the prospects of auction buyers “flying all over the country for the chance to win trips and TVs,” she says.

“Dealers always object to auto makers' giveaways to managers,” says Jack Fitzgerald, owner of the Fitzgerald Auto Mall, based in the Washington DC area.