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Aston Barclay extends online auction programme following bullish used car buyer survey results

Aston Barclay extends online auction programme following bullish used car buyer survey results

Aston Barclay has announced a comprehensive weekly digital auction sale programme hosted by live auctioneers which extends its current online sales schedule.

Its new strategy was based on the results of a major buyer survey following Boris Johnson’s updated lockdown address on 10 May, which predicts a healthy demand for used cars once dealers get back to work full time.

52% of buyers said they are expecting a strong demand for used cars as soon as dealers open for business, with four out of every five (80%) expecting to buy up to 30 used cars during the next month. These statistics match closely buyers’ pre-pandemic buying patterns.

Not surprisingly 59% said they would be buying stock in the £5-15,000 price bracket, while buyers also predict SUVs will retain their popularity in the market.

Nearly half (44.9%) of dealers said they will be buying stock online once the market gets back to normal, reinforcing the impact online buying has had in the first seven weeks of the lockdown period.

When Aston Barclay launches its scaled-up auction programme on 18 May no physical buyers will be allowed on-site to inspect or bid on stock. Even when social distancing is relaxed it envisages allowing only a restricted number of physical buyers attending each sale to maximise on-site safety, a trend that will become the ‘new normal’.

In line with government guidance, it has successfully been allowing buyers to visit its six centres to collect and pay for bought vehicles in a strictly controlled pre-arranged slot. This carefully crafted process allows a completely contact-free way for customers to collect vehicles that keeps both staff and customers safe within COVID-19 safety restrictions.

“Every part of our recent business review focusses on what the new future will look like to enforce the safety of our colleagues, buyers and vendors. Combine that with the results from the buyer survey where the industry is predicting a healthy used car market in place from the off, we believe we are in a good place and ready to play our role in supporting the industry as it returns to work.” explained Neil Hodson, Aston Barclay’s group chief executive. 

“Our new online plans will shape a new-look future for the remarketing industry where the latest digital technology is supported by a first-class auction infrastructure rather than the other way around.

“Our investment in our buyer’s app means quality images are paying off as buyers are now basing all their buying decisions on online photos and condition reports. Our unique grading and Assured warranty-style product provide further confidence when buying online,” he added.

Aston Barclay has sold over 1,000 used cars online during the first seven weeks of the lockdown period with sales being attended by a strong nationwide online buyer community.

Its new national weekly online auction programme will be complemented by over 500 cars being offered for sale online 24/7 on a bid-and-buy basis.

“We have seen lots of new buyers signing up to buy online over the past few weeks and many have fed back to us how easy and transparent the online stock viewing and bidding process is. Our buyer survey results show that online buying could become their preferred method of re-stocking forecourts in the future.” said Hodson.

Aston Barclay is also reducing the amount of vehicle touch points while on site during the lockdown. Auctioning used cars using pre-recorded imagery and inspection reports negates the need for 30-40 drivers to physically drive vehicles past the rostrum. This reduces 1,000s of vehicle touch points at every sale each day. 

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