Fleet News

Remarketing and refurbishment: the online answer

WHEN it comes to remarketing, most fleets have the same fundamental aims: to sell as many of their de-fleeted vehicles as possible for the highest possible price.

Those choosing auction as a disposal method will be hoping buyers bid above the benchmark CAP Clean price.

There is a general rule that the more buyers there are, the more chance there is of this happening.

And while attendance at the auction house will always be a key element, a new breed of bidder is entering the fray.

The growing popularity of online auctions has helped fleets more than double the number of buyers bidding for vehicles. There are varying types of ‘cyber’ auction ranging from systems selling a vehicles over an allocated time frame, to ‘real time’ sales linked live to the traditional auction hall. The type of online auction used depends on the centre. Providers of these online services claim that fleets using them can achieve greater sales conversions, higher values thanks to more buyers and faster stock rotation.

Behind the scenes of the online system

FLEETS often ask whether using an online system means more work and added costs. Surprisingly, the answer is no. Fleet managers will complete the same process as with an ordinary auction.

The auction centre carries out the usual processes – collecting the vehicles, refurbishing them if necessary and selling them to the largest possible audience of buyers.

By using a live online system, internet bidders watch vehicles pass through the auction via a small online video link. They can hear the live auction, view the vehicle description and watch the bid history. Bidding is at the click of the mouse, an icon on screen shows the bids increasing and it takes less than half a second for an internet bid to be placed and called in the auction centre.

At Manheim, a large screen in the hall flashes red, indicating an online bid has been received. Bidders in the hall can then compete with those online.

The process is seamless and the auctioneer sells at the usual frantic pace and internet bidders do not hinder the process.

Martin Potter, corporate sales director at Manheim, said: ‘Initially we thought that online bidders would slow down the auction process but it hasn’t as the screen is refreshed instantly.’

More than half of Manheim’s centres now run online Simulcast sales, but this has not always been the case.

Rob Barr, marketing director at Manheim, explained: ‘In the past, online trading was seen as an event but it is now built into the auction and has become mainstream. Five years ago there was no way buyers would participate.’

In order to achieve a successful sale, fleets have to offer the auction centre a detailed catalogue description of the vehicle and a photograph – more important with online sales as buyers rely on the information to make a purchase. Barr added: ‘Online sales require the same preparation as traditional sales.

‘However, the vehicle’s condition is more important as online bidders expect us to be their eyes.

‘To trade successfully online, fleets need to provide lots of information about the vehicle including a full vehicle specification, any damage and clear imagery both outside and inside the vehicle.’

Fact file

SOME of the auction groups with an online trading service:

  • AutobyAuction (www.autobyauction.co.uk)
  • British Car Auctions (www.british-car-auctions.co.uk)
  • Cars Direct (www.cars-direct.ltd.uk)
  • Fleet Auction Group (www.fleetauctiongroup.com)
  • JTK Automotive (www.jtkautomotive.com)
  • Manheim (www.manheimeurope.com)
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