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SMA to offer auction opportunities to dealers

SMA Vehicle Remarketing, previously Scottish Motor Auctions, has outlined ambitious plans to overtake Manheim within three years to become the UK’s second largest remarketing company.

With its sixth auction centre due to open in Birmingham in March, SMA’s annual sales volumes are expected to reach 180,000 units within the next 12 months.

Bob Anderson, SMA’s gregarious managing director, said: “It is my personal ambition to be the number two in volume in the UK within three years or so.”

The 10-acre Birmingham site will contribute up to 45,000 units a year.


He believes it will require another three or four sites and annual sales volumes in excessive of 300,000 to overtake Manheim.

Share will be taken from its main rivals, but Anderson also hopes to grow the market by encouraging fleets and manufacturers to put more of their remarketing business into auction.

SMA is close to signing a deal on land in Manchester and is also seeking sites in Bristol and London – inside and outside the M25 – to build auction centres.

But Anderson has set a limit at 10 centres. He believes this number, combined with growing online sales, is sufficient to provide nationwide coverage.

“With online growth you don’t need so many physical assets; you need fewer but larger sites than can store cars and accommodate de-fleet and PDI services,” he said.

“Online sales accounted for 5% of our volume in November and it’s increasing every month. Within 18 months to two years it will account for around 20% of our volume.”

The remarketing sector has been dominated by BCA and Manheim for almost two decades. SMA is the first to attempt to muscle in on their territory but others, including Wilsons, also have aspirations to seize market share.

Anderson anticipates further consolidation, particularly among the single-site operators, but predicts little acquisition by the leading auction houses.

These owner-driver businesses will be sat on high value land which is more likely to be bought by property companies than auction companies. But their exit will create opportunities to pick up the business they leave.

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