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The eBay of Damaged Autos

Thursday, 24 Jan 2008 | 8:24 PM ET
Copart CEO
Willis Johnson Founder, Copart chairman & CEO discusses the company's future plans, with CNBC's Jim Cramer.

Dragging a couple of hundred potential buyers of damaged cars around in the snow or Southern humidity isn’t the best business model for an auctioneer. That’s why Copart embraced the eBay way and started selling online. Now, the company moves 6,000 vehicles a day over the Net.

And that’s just one of the ways founder, Chairman and CEO Willis Johnson has grown Copart, which makes its money “remarketing” totaled cars for insurance companies. He noticed that about 25% of his buyers are outside the U.S., so he bough the U.K.’s Universal Salvage to expand his footprint.

The overseas business is big because it’s only the cost of living that makes a car “totaled” in the U.S. Thanks to low labor costs in other countries, buyers can pick up a late-model luxury vehicle on the cheap and get it running again for much less than their American counterparts.

The stock’s about $4 off its 52-week high, but it’s “going right back up,” Cramer said.

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