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Motorway celebrates record £1.39m used cars sales in a single day

Tom Leathes, CEO of Motorway

Motorway has celebrated its delivery of record volumes of used car stock to the UK’s motor retailers post-lockdown – with £1.39m of sales completed in a single day last week.

The online stock source, which matches private car sellers with retailers to provide a ready-source of vehicle stock, delivered its record daily sales figure on June 10 and has seen transaction levels outstrip those seen prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

AM featured an exclusive “10 minutes with…” article featuring Motorway chief executive Tom Leathes in the previous digital edition of AM Magazine and, since its publication, the business has added a further 250 car retail clients to over 1,000 it already had on its books.

Leathes said that Motorway’s success indicated a strong re-start for the sector as a whole.

“Judging by the post-lockdown success of our daily sales for dealers, the used car market is looking stronger than it has been for months,” he said.

“Dealers are now embracing the efficiency of buying online, purchasing more than £1m of stock on our platform every day.

“Our unique offering of high-spec, privately-owned cars to acquire in a few taps is now attracting a whole new audience.”

ADESA UK, a division of KAR Global, which provides a specialist online vehicle remarketing provider for OEMs, fleet and leasing companies, surveyed 45 independent and franchised businesses across the UK, asking how they intend to restock following the reopening of car showrooms. 

It found that alternatives to physical auctions would be sought by 78%, with 60% saying they will now either use, or only use, digital auctions.

Only 11% of dealers said they would feel comfortable attending a physical auction when lockdown measures are eased to allow them to do so.

Motorway, which restarted its online auctions on May 11, reported that it saw a record number of dealer bids on June 11 – following its record day for sales – beating the previous record set the week before by 180%.

It has attracted 60,000 private sale enquiries since the start of May and has seen a 480% increase in revenue over the past four weeks.

Strong performance has been recorded in both the sub-£5,000 vehicle category and £20,000 to £50,000 – both segments achieving at least 98% of trade valuation estimates.

Motorway also said that it had noted a sustained improvement in car sale valuations, with sellers receiving an average of £480 more for their cars in June than in May.

The company is now looking to expand its 70-strong team to 100 in the next three months to help fulfil market demand for its service.

Motorway had already expanded its offering in recent months to include a contactless vehicle logistics service.

Provided by a third-party provider, the service taps into the door-to-door nature of post-lockdown trading.

And Leathes said: “Our new transport service has been a huge success, with dealers showing great appetite for our contact-free delivery service to make purchasing easier than ever.

“We are seeing record numbers of buyers bidding online, preferring the speed, convenience and flexibility over visiting traditional physical auctions.”

Leathes added: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for the shift to online stock acquisition for dealers, and there will be no return to how things were. 

“Motorway is delighted to be at the forefront of a rapid movement towards more efficient online stock acquisition for the long term, and we look forward to welcoming even more dealers to the platform in the months ahead.”

Yesterday (June 16) both Cox Automotive and Aston Barclay reported that their physical auctions would remain wholly online for the time being.

Cox’s dealer sentiment survey found that COVID-19 has rendered physical car auctions a no-go zone for 23% of car retailers in the short- to medium-term.

Aston Barclay, meanwhile, said that it would allow traders to view its auction stock by appointment, but would not allow them into sales, adding that a decision on the hosting of physical sales in the future would depend on the success of a two-week trial under its new operating model.

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