Nearly new car dealers are beginning to shun auctions, preferring to source stock from a wider range of suppliers, according to research from Greenhous Remarketing Services.
Auctions were cited as the preferred supplier by 14% of buyers of cars up to two years old, a trend that GRS attributes to improvements in the remarketing sector.
Mike Pilkington, GRS sales and marketing director, claimed auctions were a useful source of information and industry gossip, but had downsides for buyers.
"There is often a limited selection of nearly new cars available since manufacturers have moved away from offering large numbers in open auction," he said.
Mr Pilkington added that attending auctions took up "a huge amount of time" - although BCA and Manheim have introduced online bidding via the internet - without any guarantee of finding the vehicles sought.
Greenhous' research also found that, when buying unseen, buyers rate honesty in communicating vehicle condition and the delivery of cars with spare keys and paperwork higher than price.
"The market is changing rapidly," said Mr Pilkington. "Buyers are looking for a convenient, guaranteed, efficient way of sourcing stock - and the old methods don't fit the bill any more."
He believes "one or two" remarketing companies will emerge as the dominant source of nearly new cars.