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BCA will diversify to hit 1m unit volume ambitions

BCA has ambitions to increase its volumes to 1 million units across Europe by diversifying into new areas in addition to investing in digital and its existing physical auction business.

Spencer Locke, BCA managing director and ex-Inchcape Retail UK chief executive, told AM, that while the physical auction locations the company has across the UK will remain as the backbone of the business, data, smart repair, finance and its acquisition of would all drive how the business is changing.

The business currently sells 600,000 units in the UK a year, 130,000 of which are sold online through BCA's Live Online service. BCA’s European business currently sells 200,000 units a year.

Locke admitted that the majority of growth would come from Europe, rather than the UK and that the current footprint of 20 physical auction centres here is unlikely to expand. BCA has 26 centres across Europe.

Locke said: “We will be using a hybrid model of using the strength of our physical auction sites with a strong digital business.

"We want to communicate that we can offer more than just auctions. The transactional data we have is huge and we will be leveraging this with more information for customers.”

The stock information and analysis BCA has access to can build a “what, when, where” picture for each vehicle. It will be able to answer the question of what models will sell in the best location and with what trim. This “sourcing advice” will be a key element for BCA’s future business plans, according to Locke.

BCA will also be investing in ancillary services like SMART repair; valeting and funding. BCA revealed in May that it will be launching a buyer stock funding product for smaller dealers who struggle to secure financial support from the banks and other traditional lenders to fund their purchases.

The expansion of BCA's SMART repair and valeting business will help build part of BCA’s new “ready to retail” stock quality indicator.

The current BCA system has a 1-5 condition rating for stock. The ready to retail badge will mean dealers will not have to spend additional money to prep a car for sale which in turn will reduce the time taken to turn around used stock.

The grades from 1-5 will now feature a ready to retail indication for how much money will be required to prepare it to the highest quality.

We Buy Any Car

Locke said BCA’s acquisition of We Buy Any Car should be approved before the end of July 2013.  We Buy Any Car was already a massive vendor for BCA and Locke said that it would not receive special treatment at auctions in the future.

The We Buy Any Car brand will open BCA up to more consumers and Locke also mentioned that it could unlock the potential for using the model in Europe to boost growth for the business.

He was not able to elaborate further on the strategic significance of We Buy Any Car while the deal is still yet to be approved.

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