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Dealers warned to manage trade-ins carefully

The Society of Motor Auctions has told dealers they must not lose sight of ensuring they effectively manage their trade-in cars.

The SMA warns that dealers may take their eye off the ball during the busy March month when focus may be on new car sales because of the plate change.

“Part exchanges although essential to selling cars can prove costly if not dealt with efficiently,” warns RMI Society of Motor Auctions chairman, John Lane.

“Used vehicle stock is expensive to keep both in stocking and display costs. Dealers therefore need a quick efficient route to dispose of these vehicles and to maximise their profit potential.”

The SMA advises dealers to follow some basic ground rules:


  1. Stock: Appraise your stock thoroughly before entering the vehicle into a sale and price the vehicle accordingly.
  2. Preparation: Remove any minor imperfections to the body and trim of a vehicle, don't give buyers any excuse to pass by.
  3. Valeting: Ensure the vehicle is well presented; a spotless car with good bodywork will be more appealing than one that is dirty and in poor condition.
  4. Documentation: Ensure that all the documentation for the vehicle is available. Having the documents such as V5s, MOT certificates and Service Records will significantly enhance the vehicle to a potential buyer who will be concerned about the vehicles providence.
  5. Reserves: Ensure reserve prices are realistically set. Overpriced vehicles will not sell but do not under price either as that will loss precious profit.
  6. Attend the sale: Being physically present at an auction when your stock is being sold helps you appraise the market and lets buyers know you are serious about the vehicles you are selling.
  7. Unsold Stock: If a vehicle doesn't sell, consider the reasons for that and make any minor adjustments to the vehicle's appearance or reserves if necessary.
  8. Profile: Ensure vehicles are entered in the right sales with similar specification and priced vehicles.
  9. Keeping up with the market: It is essential to keep up-to-date with market conditions. To obtain the best prices for your vehicles you need to know what is selling and at what price.
  10. Advice: Remember that auctions are run by auction experts. So if you are unsure about anything be it reserve prices, the right sale or vehicle preparation ask your auction house.

“Motor Auctions offer an extremely efficient means for dealers to dispose of unwanted stock. They are run by experts who are knowledgeable about the auction market and help dealers achieve a good return on their stock,” said Lane.


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