Fleet News

When a sale may not be all it seems

There are two different stories coming out of the auctions at the moment. One is that all cars are selling and the other is that many sales are only provisional.

The first version comes from companies who are selling first time by simply taking the best bid on the day. For them, ongoing financial pressures outweigh the few extra quid they might take by holding out.

The other story comes from those disposers who are hanging on for every pound, refusing to sell below reserve price. And these now stand accused of being greedy.

By digging their heels in, they are bringing down conversion rates quite dramatically at some sales and reports of rates in the mid 50% region are now surfacing on a regular basis.

Some auction managers tell me that the fantastic results seen recently are fast becoming history as supply is back outweighing demand from the trade. However, if the good weather keeps up the market will pick up again. As I've said before, whatever is going on in the world politically or economically, if it's sunny people buy cars and if it's raining they stay away. It really is as simple as that.

Coupe condundrum

The Coupe market is all over the place at the moment, and there's a real pecking order. Vauxhall Calibra was very successful and desirable in its day, while Ford's contribution to this sector was not quite as sought after.

The Probe was never liked and nor is its successor, the Cougar. But its little brother the Puma has been an outstanding success ever since its launch and continues to flourish. Volvo seems to be having trouble with the C70 Coupe, whereas the convertible version is going great guns, and is seen as highly desirable.

Peugeot 406 Coupe is another that got off to a great start but over the years lost some of its identity. People who've had one don't tend to have another, despite its good looks.

The one outstanding coupe that has always had a place in a lot of hearts is the BMW 3-Series.

Over the years, this has always been the one to be seen in. Mercedes-Benz also got it right with its selection of coupes almost from the day it opened for business, and recently it has gone from strength to strength.

Anti-clocking fight

The word out there right now is that virtually anything with more than 80,000 miles on the clock is almost unsaleable. Whatever the car or sector they are becoming really hard work. There was a TV programme which recently showed how easy it is becoming to clock modern cars with digital odometers or, to be more precise, how easy it is to buy the equipment to do the dastardly deed.

Available via the internet for around £3,500, it will clock almost any car, no matter how intricate the electronics.

Of course, it is not illegal to buy or sell such equipment and nor is it actually illegal to simply clock a car.

What the authorities do clamp down hard on, with heavy fines or the threat of a spell in your local prison, is not declaring that the vehicle has been tampered with. So the problem will certainly continue to grow and, no matter how technology moves on, there will always be ways to beat it. As understanding of this grows among the public, steps must be taken to restore confidence.

If you see, or know of, this illegal practice you really have a duty to report it to your local trading standards department. After all, you'll be fighting to maintain the integrity of our industry.

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