Fleet News

FAG moves to restore trust

REGULATION in the motor industry is the best way of restoring trust and enticing buyers to showrooms and forecourts, according to Fleet Auction Group.

It wants to raise standards in the industry by restricting sales to ex-fleet and dealer over-age stock and stipulating minimum requirements for account holders. Its chief executive Andrew Walker is calling on the industry to do more to regulate itself.

The company believes its 'trade only, no cash' sales are the first step towards restoring buyers' faith in the motor industry.

Leicestershire-based Fleet Auction Group has attracted about 2,000 account holders since it was established at purpose-built premises and held its first sale in April.

Walker said: 'In Japan and the USA auctions are strictly licensed, as are car dealers, and they could lose their licence to trade if they are doing anything wrong.

'If the industry was regulated in the UK, it would be a way of getting buyers back into showrooms and forecourts because they would have more trust in the dealers.'

His plan is for Fleet Auction Group to lead by example, with the minimum requirement for account holders set at a VAT registration number and no transactions are made in cash.

He said: 'Our 'trade only' sales are bringing people back to the auction that have stayed away for years and this means more competition on the auction floor, with an obvious reflection in the sale results.'

Walker is quick to dismiss suggestions that fleet operators are not concerned who buys their defleeted vehicles as long as someone wants them.

He said: 'Ask a fleet manager if he or she is bothered whether one of his or her vehicles is purchased in auction using a false name and address, paid for in cash, clocked and sold to a member of the public.

'The car sales industry is going through one of its most traumatic decades and it is of paramount importance that we all – no matter what sector of the industry we operate in – stand together to protect our future.'

Fleet Auction Group's site in Coalville has three auction halls, restaurant facilities, a conference room, internal storage for 350 vehicles and outside storage for 2,500. There is also a vendor auction viewing lounge.

Building on its success to date, Fleet Auction Group also hopes to expand in future with more sites across the country offering modern facilities.

Walker added: 'We cannot change the auction industry overnight, but we are trying to move it into the 21st century. And so far it seems to be working.

'We are running two sales a week and each one has up to 150 customers – and it's growing sale by sale. Account applications are coming in steadily on a daily basis. 'An element of this is because we are a new company and the rate will eventually slow down, but we are currently receiving about 50 applications a week from new customers.'

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