After writing several articles about the rise of the private auction buyer and why they are turning up to bid in their droves, curiosity finally got the better of me this week. In the course of my work in the trade I have to visit the auctions several times per month and not necessarily in a buying capacity but often just to get a “feel” for the market and what prices cars in general are making. I decided that this week, rather than speculating I would actually ask some private buyers (you can tell who they are because of the parkers guide or other motoring publication under their arm) some simple questions about how they found themselves buying from auction.
Here are some of the interesting replies:
“Got so fed up of the treatment I had at a car dealer I would rather take my chances at the auctions.”
“A friend bought a car from auction and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.”
“I searched for cars on the internet and realised as long as I bought a car still in warranty I could be fairly sure that I could save money and still take it to a dealer if there was a problem.”
“It’s a great fun day out.” (Probably needs to get out more).
“I saved over £2,000 on the price my local dealers were advertising cars at.”
“After our last bad experience with a dealer, we decided that the profit they made from us clearly didn’t extend to looking after us once we had driven away, which is the same at auction but at least we knew that when we bought and still took the chance and probably saved some money.”
“I was told that it’s not like the old days where you could end up in a dodgy car and get ripped off, the descriptions are very accurate”.
“Apart from some sniffy reception staff the guys in the luminous jackets couldn’t have been more helpful”
“We came to compare but to be honest we have decided to pay more and have a bit of peace of mind and someone to complain to, didn’t like the sold as seen aspect.”
“Most modern cars are reliable if you know which ones to buy and my neighbour is a mechanic so he has come with me to help me with my search.”
“There seems to be so much choice!”
“We won’t buy here because there is no warranty on the cars.”
“Some cars I looked at were not that much cheaper than buying from a dealer, and I found the auctioneer went a bit quickly and I couldn’t really understand him.”
“If you do our homework first it’s easier than you think, I will definitely come again and advise any friends to try the auction I can’t believe how much it’s changed.”
These are some of the many comments I had, and I suppose there are no real surprises. Bizarrely though out of the 30 or so private buyers I spoke to only 8 had actually bought a car from the sale that day, but 18 of them were on a least their second visit. Who would have thought that customers are getting fussy at auction too?
On a serious note however this is just another sign that dealers of all types certainly need to up their game if they don’t want more of their potential customers being empowered to use an auction as a buying solution.
If the OFT have anything to do with it, soon those dealer improvements may not be optional!
BCA reports continued rise in used values. Motor Trader