Fleet News

Opinion: presentation becomes ever more important

'THE UK used car market is a multi-billion pound industry, employing huge numbers of people – many of whom have their own agenda. Therefore conflicts are inevitable and one of the most common complaints voiced by buyers or sellers is that the other side isn't listening.

Of course, where one side is always trying to gain some advantage, they would say that and it is important to recognise PR spin when it is deployed. That said, however, sometimes it does pay disposers to really listen to current market buyers.

One true hard fact is that vehicle condition remains a grumble among many around the trade who claim to be seeing ever more cars that need attention, particularly to paint and bodywork.

If a car or van needs additional attention over and above the norm, then buyers will move on to find one that will cost them less time and trouble. After all, in their shoes would you want to put in extra time and effort?

In reality, this is probably a case of buyers becoming more picky, following a previous determination just to own the metal. Nonetheless it does mean that there are cars once again doing the rounds of repeat appearances and attracting lower bids each time.

As always, those disposers with a decision-maker on site at the sale will be the winners in this more challenging market. They are always in the best position to gauge the changing mood of the trade and therefore react swiftly to opportunities to maximise their returns.

Back at base, the trick is to achieve the best possible presentation so that those best first bids are attractive enough to accept. Disposers with their own dealer contacts are being told that some dealers are only buying to fill empty spaces and not sourcing any extra stock for that sudden rush of customers. This sort of information is helping them to change their actions and that's why it may be worth you building your own contacts.

Tightening up on dumping

The Government estimates there are about one million unlicensed vehicles on the UK roads, with significant numbers simply abandoned: there were 238,000 left at the roadside in 2000. Car dumping is a significant problem now but to ensure that every one has a traceable owner, the Government has announced far stricter measures, to be introduced from January 2004, to tighten up on notification of changes in ownership.

Given that the registered keeper will be legally responsible at all times for taxing the vehicle and also responsible for any fines or penalties that the vehicle – or use of it – attracts, keeping up with paperwork will be more important than ever before.

For disposal managers, this will mean extra vigilance in ensuring the authorities are immediately made aware of the disposal of all vehicles.

If the correct procedures are not taken, then they can expect a knock at the door from any one of the regulatory authorities and their ever-increasing scrutiny on cars. Never allow yourself to remain the legal owner after disposal because there is no guarantee that the next keeper is as honest as you.'

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