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Inventory tracking enters new phase

BCA will be rolling out its Inventory Management System (IMS) to franchised dealers during the second half of the year.

The company says the system, now in the final launch phase with fleet and corporate customers, will help dealers track a car’s progress through the remarketing process in real time, from transportation to sale.

For vendors, it means they can better manage their remarketing, while buyers can get early notification about when cars meeting their profile are due to be auctioned, and from which sites they will be sold.

IMS includes Biztalk, an electronic system that removes the need for dealer staff to re-key details for cars sent to and bought from auction. BCA is working to get the system integrated with the main dealer management systems. Just over 30 customers have signed up; BCA hopes to double that number this year.

BCA’s Live Online auction business is growing in popularity. Although just 10% of BCA’s cars are sold online – from 200 events in 2005, expected to double in number this year – the system has immense value in raising the sale value. The company calculates that added value at £1m last year in terms of cars bought online or where an online bidder was the underbidder.

Jon Olsen, BCA chief executive, believes dealers have a real opportunity in the used car market this year. “There will be an abundance of fleet cars because 2002 was a big year for fleet dealers and these will be coming to the end of their three-year lease,” he says. “These cars are very retailable with many in the £6,000-6,500 price range – good margin, fast turnaround.”

BCA is monitoring a couple of open points in the UK. It expects to make a decision this year whether to open new centres or expand existing sites to provide additional capacity, similar to the investment made in Bedford last year. Work is likely to start at the end of 2006.

“It’s not about how many centres we have, it’s about how much capacity we have,” says Olsen. ”Our strategy is to continue increasing our penetration with medium and smaller dealers. It’s a case of winning business, but also growing the marketplace – this is where we can make the biggest inroads.”

The company handled about 1m vehicles in the UK last year from 5,500 sale events. Much of the £1.3bn turnover group’s network expansion will come from mainland Europe, with Spain, France and central/eastern Europe key targets.

  • BCA has signed a five-year deal with Lex Vehicle Leasing for 250,000 vehicles worth £1.25bn.
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