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£1 a week online auction

Vehicle remarketing specialist Cars Direct has launched an online trade-to-trade auction service.

Developed in-house as a trade-only competitor to eBayMotors (the online service where dealers primarily auction to private buyers),’s USP is that it enables used car dealers to become virtual auctioneers to vetted VAT-registered retailers. Fees work out at about £1 a car per week.

The site has been running for less than a month, initially kick-started with Cars Direct’s own vehicles but now showing a variety of mainly high mileage, exchange stock posted by dealers throughout the UK.

Roger Woodward, Cars Direct managing director, says the early take-up signs are good, helped by an e-mailed announcement of the service to customers prior to launch.

“Most motor traders have an inherent urge to become auctioneers and we are giving them this opportunity,” says Woodward. “It’s rather like buying a franchise: we give them the tools, and they do the work – and they save themselves the costs of transporting cars to auction, entry fees, auction fees, waiting for their money, and the time and cost of collecting unsold vehicles.”

Vendors are required to post full details of each vehicle up for auction, with a photograph, history, and starting bid price. The user is electronically advised of any bids received and calls the shots until the sale has been completed – or withdrawn if the reserve bid is not met.

Cars Direct, formed in 1989, remarkets for a number of major fleets, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Arval PHH, Saab Finance and Citroen Contract Motoring, from its Corby headquarters and runs off-site ‘private label’ sales for clients such as Leaseplan.

“We were looking to expand with something a little less hands-on. fitted the bill nicely,” says Woodward. “Obviously it’s early days, so it’s a bit difficult to predict how much traffic the site will handle, but between five and six million used cars change hands in the UK every year, and we believe our system will play a significant part in that business.”

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