Fleet News

Remarketing 2 - The Price

How can an auction company help with selling vehicles over the internet and does it work?

Selling goods using the internet is well established and this now also applies to used vehicles.

Apart from convenience, the real key to successful online selling is exactly the same as exists for physical auction i.e. established and trusted relationships with buyers.

The best online solutions include electronic real-time auctions which enables registered buyers to bid directly into the physical auctions competing head-on with those buyers attending in the halls.

Importantly, online buyers who are bidding without seeing the vehicle need access to accurate condition reports, vehicle images and of course reliable mechanical statements, which is where the trust element is vital.

In the last few years since the introduction of these technologies, the growth in online bidding has been exponential.

This does not mean that the buyers who attend the sales in person will disappear. It simply means that auction companies can offer stock to a wider group of buyers, and buyers are able to bid at a number of different sales across the country without leaving their offices.

Whilst the number of vehicles sold online is still relatively small compared to those sold in the auction halls, it will undoubtedly continue to grow and is extremely effective in maximising buying power and prices.

How can a fleet manager ensure they are getting the right price for their vehicles?
Ascertaining the right price is for a used vehicle has always been the hardest challenge facing any seller.

The price offered by a prospective purchaser will often depend on whether they actually really want the vehicle or not or more likely who wants it the most.

So offering it in an auction is an excellent way of establishing fair market value on the day. The more buyers attending the auction the better the price, providing of course the vehicle is presented in its best light.

All the leading auction companies would expect a seller to place a ‘reserve’ selling price on each vehicle entered for sale.

This ‘reserve’ is the minimum price which the seller will accept but it does need to be realistic. Optimistically high reserve prices will often make a vehicle unsaleable but all the auction houses will be pleased to provide advice on a fair reserve price beforehand.

The leading auction companies also publish their own online sale price guides which report on actual sale prices achieved by make and model over the past month.

This service is generally available to regular trade and corporate customers at no charge. There are also the leading vehicle price publishers, including CAP and Glass’s Guide, which will allow bonafide fleet operators and dealers to subscribe to monthly used vehicle price data.

It is important to remember that market conditions change throughout the year, with peaks and troughs reflecting market demand at the time.

This was particularly so during 2008 where prices for used vehicles simply reflected the broader economic downturn.

What can fleet managers do to maximise sale values?
There are a number of essential things which a fleet operator can do to further enhance a vehicle’s value when selling at auction.

Firstly, take full advantage of the services offered by the auction company which clearly add value, namely reconditioning where relevant, a good standard of valeting and the mechanical inspection report.

Additionally, the following actions will also ensure that vehicles are offered to the market in the best way possible:

• The V5 registration document should be present and with the auctioneer at the time of sale
• The up-to-date service records should also be with the auctioneer
• Any MOT certificate with less than three months to expiry should be renewed for a full 12 months
• Warrant the mileage, wherever you know this to be correct

Source: Managing Your Company Car, Expert Opinion, by Colin Tourick. Contributor: Rob Barr, Manheim.

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