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Online auctions bid for bigger share of the market

Autorola’s Pay agreed, although the company has already established close links with Peugeot, Hyundai and Porsche: “Manufacturers have an interest in maintaining their brand within their dealer network so it makes sense for them to be talking to us.”

Citroën UK agreed manufacturers should aim to repatriate as much of its own stock as possible and its remarketing programme has engaged its network extensively in this way for years.

However, when it comes to remarketing both overage stock and non-franchised part-exchanges, it should remain the preserve of the dealer although it has embraced online remarketing itself so much so that 95% of its ‘late and low’ vehicles are sold to its dealers this way.

“It’s the older cars or cars with a few bumps and scrapes that end up at the physical auction,” said Citroën UK’s head of remarketing Michael Brown.

“Online is quicker and cheaper; without a doubt it helps the churn. The physical auction may see smaller volumes, but that doesn’t mean a smaller slice of the pie for such companies. They are just handling their volumes differently.”

What is apparent is the vast amount of choice now available to dealers and this ‘pick and mix’ approach appears to be working.

Some dealers have adopted an individual approach. Sales managers at L and L Automotive, which retails Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge in Hertfordshire, remarket via its own bank of contacts as well as utilising manufacturer closed auctions and when these avenues are exhausted.

Group buyer and used car controller Kevin Martindale said: “The cars we need to remarket are in and out within two to three days.

"It’s a reciprocal arrangement and works well because we are small enough to handle it.”

Interestingly, Citygate’s Drake throws in another scenario: “We generate much more income if we retail non-franchised part-exchanges ourselves.

"Sending vehicles to auction used to be the answer, but now we choose to regenerate our part-exchanges in the retail arena. We’re not the only ones who are doing it. It’s growing.”

As dealers eke out every last bit of profit wherever they can, including retailing non-franchised stock through in- house, non-branded used car outlets, are they creating a further demand from which all remarketing parties, particularly onliners, are benefiting?

That, however, is another story.....

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