Fleet News

Presentation is vital to avoid the cold shoulder

'Back in mid-January when the last lot of festivities were over and the trade, like the rest of the country, was getting back to normal, I wrote a paragraph in this column warning of the dangers of the bad weather.

I had visited a couple of auctions early in January and, if you recall, we had had a spell of cold weather over Christmas and New Year. For some disposal managers this proved to be a problem. As we all know, any vehicle left outside in below freezing conditions gets iced up and as the temperature never rose much above freezing, it left many cars looking very sad.

These vehicles were being driven through the auction sales rooms still covered in the white stuff and the drivers simply made a two-inch square clearance on the windscreen and somehow managed to peep through the small aperture.

With noses touching the screen they drove them through the hall, miraculously without doing punters any damage. But the cars were none too appealing under those conditions.

Although the start of January is generally pretty good for achieving acceptable bids and reasonable conversion rates, the chance of selling iced-up cars is not too high. Anyone disposing of any kind of vehicles through the winter months must make the necessary arrangements now to ensure vehicles look their best, regardless of inclement weather.

Check that the auction has undercover storage and, if not, what precautions they are taking to make your vehicle look outstanding, despite having three inches of hard packed snow on it.

It is no use steam-cleaning a car just before it enters the ring because it may look good for a few minutes before icing up again. If it doesn't sell then the problem just gets worse.

Take a trip to the auction yourself and find out if the cars are going to be stored under cover.

If not, keep them in storage yourself, where you know they will be kept nice and warm. It does mean extra expense but in the long run it may be worth it. Also drip-feed cars into the auction, so you know your cars will look fresh and ready to sell.

All this may seem obvious, although putting some of the ideas into action may not be that easy.

But don't assume that because we are not currently in the grip of an arctic snap, that it isn't going to happen. Better safe than sorry.'

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