The two companies will develop multimarque used car auctions in France through BCAuto Enchères, created on July 1.
The company is 60% owned by BCA and 40% by RCI, and includes RCI's used car auction company Transparcs that operates two sites, one near Paris at Bonneuil sur Marne and the other in Lyon.
Transparcs is a multi-marque auction company and handled 40,000 vehicles last year, generating sales of FF400 million (€60.9 million).
BCA already has 36 auction centres in Europe, spread through Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK, and last year dealt with more than one million vehicles.
But it has delayed its entry to the French market because of the effective auction monopoly enjoyed by 'commissaires priseurs' (CPs). The mandatory commission charges levied by CPs have hindered the competitive position of car auctions in France, but reforms to remove these charges are expected later this year.
Tom Gibson, chairman and chief executive of BCA, said the size and scale of the French car market means that BCAuto Enchères could eventually account for 15–20% of BCA's business, and said the company had identified four further sites in France for development within three years.
He added that expansion remained high on BCA's agenda across Europe, through development of more sites, as well as entry into another two countries.
'One day this combined European market will add up to the market size of the United States, which has more than 300 auctions,' he said.
On the customer side, BCA already serves pan-European clients - manufacturers, leasing companies and fleets - and Gibson believes the creation of BCAuto Enchères has significantly improved the company's international offer. (July 2000)