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Cars Direct to launch Northern Ireland hub

Online auction specialist Cars Direct is confident of achieving a significant boost to its sales to dealers when it opens a hub in Northern Ireland on September 26.

Roger Woodward, managing director, said the company was likely to sell between 8,000 and 9,000 units this year through internet auctions at its Corby, Northants, base.

Up to 3,000 more sales a year would be achieved “fairly quickly” through a partnership with the Woodside Group, which is said to deliver up to 96% of new cars to franchised dealers in Northern Ireland.

“We will conduct the auctions from our Corby HQ,” said Woodward. 

“Woodside will look after collection, delivery, storage, repairs, refurbishment, keys, valeting and care of service books,” he said. “Their staff will also take pictures of the cars.”

Cars Direct, which auctions cars coming off company fleets, has tested the market in Northern Ireland by shipping cars to the UK, and then returning them to buyers.

Its clients in Northern Ireland include Royal Mail, BT and Motability.

“Most of the cars are likely to be bought by dealers in Northern Ireland,” Woodward said. “Any cars bought by dealers in England, Wales or Scotland will have come off fleets, and won’t be first registrations. 

“The market is tough for everyone at the moment,
but we have an edge over our rivals.”

Cars Direct, formed in 1989, began by selling by tender. A decade ago it moved into online auctions. 

“We were the first into selling to dealers buying from their premises,” said Woodward.

“BCA and Manheim are competing for online business, but their culture is still rooted in people going to an auction.”

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