Fleet News

Be quick to get the best auction results

'SEPTEMBER 1 and the '53' registration came and went, but there will be no flood of cars coming off the fleet and going into the market. There may be an advantage here for those who can get the three-year-old car off the fleet and on sale very quickly.

An effective turn-around is crucial to maximise the best prices. Those who saunter and don't get in on the act will be reacting to a market driven by others. To give some idea of potential first mover advantage, back in September 2000 there were 353,494 cars registered, many of which would have been on a three-year contract and some now are on extended contract, but most importantly they won't be hitting the market at the same time.

Having said all that, the way the trade are now buying cars, it is still 'only the best will do'. So there is a fine balancing act by all disposers. Firstly, get cars into the market quickly and secondly, have them looking as good as possible.

When time is a factor, the latter often gets ignored, which leads to cars not selling first time. They remain on the books as autumn approaches and retail starts to go a bit quieter, so a difficult decision has to be taken: time or presentation?

Back in the 'good old days', the art to achieving the best money for any car was to disperse any vehicles of the same sort as far apart as possible. If a disposal manager had three cars, then it wasn't unusual to either put the vehicles in the same auction on different days, or put one in the block in Scotland, one in the north of England and the other somewhere down south.

This still happens but what is becoming more obvious is that to get the best price, grouping the same cars in the same auction produces the required results. These are often organised by auction companies or manufacturers, on behalf of the leasing industry.

These sales can include ex-manufacturer cars, along with cars up to four years old, all in the same place at the same time. The trade buyers like this, as it makes the journey worthwhile. But dealers also have to be aware of these sales and it is the auctions who spend much time and effort letting them know dates, times and venues of any specific sale.

Starring role for superminis

In the used market, superminis have always been winners and they continue to find new converts of all ages and types. Many manufacturers have never been able to understand why someone would pay more for a smaller car than the larger version, such as a Ford Fiesta over an Escort or a Renault Clio over a Megane. However, in the used market, where prices are driven by demand rather than production costs, these smaller cars continue to generally outperform most sectors.

Using a basket of the most popular three-year-old models, prices in the sector have actually risen by 7.5% year-on-year.

This compares favourably with a 2.5% rise in the lower-medium sector and the upper-medium sector that has actually declined by more than 3% over the last year. This clearly illustrates that for those seeking stock less likely to depreciate while on display, many cars in this sector provide the safest choice.'

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