Fleet News

Pity the poor old disposal manager

##CAPsml--left####Martin Ward--right##THE life of the disposal manager can be very frustrating from time to time, as I found out last week.

I was talking to one disposer who had to sell two vehicles. Both were identical in model and colour, one with 78,000 miles, the other with 90,000. What could be easier than taking them to the auction, putting on a reserve, and off they go?

Well, it was not that easy. Both seemed like they had been lived in, filthy on both the inside and out, with accident damage and scrapes all over.

There were also small things like the radio hanging out of one, while the rear view mirror of the other was on the passenger seat. All these things seemed to be adding up to make these cars unsaleable. But the woe didn't stop there - one didn't even have a reverse gear, so moving it out of the car parking place meant it had to be physically pushed.

The first thing to sort out was the reverse gear, as it wouldn't sell at all in that condition. So it was off to the local dealer to fix it. The somewhat unhelpful service receptionist told the disposer it would be two weeks before someone could even look at the car. This was because of the holidays and mechanics being off - there was apparently a whole host of reasons why it would take so long. If a company car driver, who needed the vehicle for business rather than to dispose of, had the same problem, would they accept the wait? I think not.

It is amazing how manufacturers and sales people strive to sell vehicles, only to be badly let down by the service department. This is an age-old problem and one that has to be resolved.

Of course people are busy and they can't always fit a job in at the drop of a hat, but surely receptionists must understand the importance of customer care and satisfaction.

In the end the car was taken to a local repair shop. It turned out that all it needed was a simple cable adjustment, so no major surgery required, and they had it fixed and ready the next day. I'm sometimes glad to be able to stick to my job, and let the poor disposal managers continue to pull their hair out!

Mixed fortunes for Audi

AUDI is currently having mixed fortunes in the used market. Anything diesel is very much sought after, with waiting lists for A4 TDi but some petrol-engined cars are struggling a bit.

The A6 1.8T is starting to build up in dealers' stock, with little interest from the public, as are big-engined A6 models. The A8 is hit and miss. Some dealers are doing well with them, and others are not opening the doors. The really good news is the A3 - these are in demand with almost all models doing well, although the turbo quattro is particularly strong at the moment.

For those selling sports supercars, the job is on fire. It seems any Porsche or Ferrari is in demand with a general shortage of all models, with waiting lists of nine months for a Boxster and over a year for a 911. The demand for used models is also bound to continue.

Balancing the supply and demand of ex-rental cars is a logistical minefield. There is currently a shortage of these vehicles during the holiday season, when rentals from the public and visitors continue.

But as the kids start going back to school and college, the demand will lessen and more will appear for sale. The problem is that most of these cars will be X or Y reg and they will look pretty dated when the '51' plates hit the streets next week. Getting the balance right for the rental disposers is almost impossible.

As the barbecue season closes and autumn is just around the corner, it is back to ringing round the buyers to drum up some business and move the cars on.

  • FNN allows you to search for REAL prices reached by REAL vehicles sold at the country's leading car auctions. To start your search click here.

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