Fleet News

Manheim moves for easier sales

MANHEIM Auctions has announced a series of new products aimed at helping its customers get the most out of their remarketing strategies.

The company has 19 centres in the UK and three in France and offers half a million vehicles for sale every year.

It has also announced that fleet industry figure Ron Bambra has joined it as a non-executive director.

Bambra, who spent 16 years building Kwik-Fit into the UK's largest fleet fast-fit supplier, will be reporting to Manheim Auctions' chief executive, John Bailey. One of his main roles will be to help further develop Manheim's communication and relationships with all areas of the motor industry.

'Manheim is already a dynamic company employing some of the most highly experienced people in the auction industry. I am pleased John has asked me to put my experience to good use within the Manheim Group,' said Bambra.

Bambra's last position within Kwik-Fit was group managing director for its fleet division across Europe.

One of the newest products launched by the group is its Manheim Market Report, a system holding a rolling stock of 30 days' worth of vehicle price information generated from across the Manheim auction network.

Prices can be sorted by make, model, trim level, age, mileage, engine and body style and can be compared against CAP values.

The company says it can generate specific prices for individual cars sold at auction – for example, a Ford Mondeo 1.8 TD LX 5dr – and compare its performance against CAP, although the company stresses it is not a CAP competitor.

It will then calculate the average price and mileage for every Mondeo 1.8 TD LX 4dr, 5dr and estate model sold by Manheim in the previous 30 days, including a breakdown by registration plate and age.

The aim is for vendors to use the tool to set realistic values for their cars and not to set them too high or too low. Manheim says the benefits for vendors include higher prices, increased first-time-sale rate and better cash flow.

It has already piloted the system with a number of its fleet customers and is buoyed by the response.

Corporate sales director Martin Potter said: 'Talking to the vendors, they were impressed at its ability to provide very up-to-date statistical information for use when setting reserves and examining market prices.

'Manheim Market Report gives fleets a reality check into the used car market, which at times can change on a weekly, if not a daily, basis. If they have got the latest data to hand, they can make the best disposal decisions for their business.'

Bailey added: 'The service features real cars sold at a real auction with mileage, price and performance against CAP. It's an incredibly valuable tool for vendors and we are very excited about its launch.'

Currently, only cars up to five years of age are included on the system.

Other new products launched by the company include MasterValet and the Light Commercial Vehicle Defleet Guide.

The company estimates that cars reconditioned before going to auction can fetch three times the amount that was invested in improving its condition.

It has launched MasterValet and MasterValet Plus, both of which offer a valeting system the company says can transform even the most average-looking car into one that 'shines' on its journey through the auction hall.

Manheim executives predict that vendors who give their cars a wash-and-brush-up before they enter the auction halls can boost their residual value by between 3% and 4%.

'Dealers are prepared to pay more money for a reconditioned car,' Bailey said.

'That's because they buy it at the auction and the next day it is for sale on their forecourt. Some customers are prepared to pay for reconditioning but it is still only about 10%, although that rate is growing. It's more popular when markets are tough.'

Its LCV Defleet Guide aims to educate contract hire, leasing and rental companies and their customers about exactly what levels of wear and tear are acceptable for commercial vehicles, what is deemed as vehicle abuse and what will be recharged at the end of a contract.

Compiled by a team of Manheim's commercial vehicle experts, it will provide handy checklists and impartial guides on both the rental company's and the customer's responsibilities.

It aims to eliminate the 'grey areas' that have caused problems when assessing wear and tear and focuses on damage that will affect the price of a vehicle in the auction halls.

Detailed photographs of acceptable and unacceptable damage to a variety of areas are included within the guide, including dashboards and fascias, headlining, floor covering and footwells, seats, bumpers and accessories such as roof racks and beacon lights.

These new Manheim services aim to help push up the value of used cars for its customers – despite the fact that prices in the industry are high this year due to a low level of quality stock.

Commenting on the year so far, Bailey said: 'Residual values are strong and have been all year. There are not as many used cars in the marketplace as many people had been expecting but retail demand is good.

'A number of fleets have extended their contracts, meaning fewer used cars going through the auction system.'

Earlier this year, the company announced it was transferring fleet sales from its Gloucester centre and would invest more than £2 million in the site in a bid to create Europe's largest vehicle auction house (Fleet NewsNet, August 14).

Fleet sales transferred to Coventry, ready for the Gloucester site to expand from a 10-acre site to 15 acres. The auction buildings are being refurbished, there will be new road access to the site, a new entry control facility and a new valeting facility.

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