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Independent used car dealer expands geographic reach online

Independent used car dealer Carbase has doubled the distance it can attract customers online after committing its cars in stock to an 82-point check and set of nationwide standards.

Carbase is an approved dealer with RAC Buysure, a nationwide approved used car scheme.

The initiative sees dealers commit to an 82-point RAC Approved Preparation Standard on every vehicle, a car data check, a minimum of three months’ RAC Warranty cover, three months of RAC Roadside breakdown cover provided free of charge and enrolment to RAC Accident Care.

Andy Peters, group sales manager at Carbase (, said: “About 20% of our business is coming from an 80 mile radius now, which gives us a much bigger footprint.

“There are several reasons for this change. One is that we spend a lot of time ensuring that the vehicles are presented well online in terms of pictures, video and information, so that potential customers feel that they have got as much information as possible about the car.

“Somebody sitting at their computer 200 miles away will not take you seriously if your online vehicle ad has just got a couple of fuzzy pictures taken with your phone and 20 words about the vehicle.

"The involvement of the RAC is crucial from a confidence point of view. When we explain about the Buysure scheme over the phone or by e-mail and the RAC brand is introduced, they immediately feel more reassured that they are buying a high quality used car from a high quality operation. Many will put a deposit down there and then, and we have an arrangement in place where if they then visit us and like the vehicle, they can drive it away that day. This also helps with distance sales."

Ian Simpson, sales and marketing director at RAC Warranty, believes used car dealers are now finding it easier to expand their sales to a national level by offering guarantees on their stock through the BuySure scheme.

Simpson said that this development potentially allowed localised used car businesses to compete against franchise dealer approved used car schemes on a national basis.

He said: “Franchised dealers are accustomed to used car customers coming from some distance away to buy a car that they have found either though a manufacturer vehicle locator or other online portal such as RAC Cars but it is a rarity for most independent dealers.

“The RAC BuySure scheme changes this and creates a situation where an independent dealer with the right approach can start to generate nationwide sales.”

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