With used stock supply remaining tight and dealers looking to optimise the opportunities created by the cost of living crisis to purchase older stock, buyers are keen to engage with physical auctions. This is the conclusion of an in-depth assessment of trends undertaken by MotoNovo Finance.

The key findings centred upon the opportunity to inspect stock physically;

  • View vehicles of grades and conditions that would usually be filtered out with initial online searching of catalogues.
  • Visual checks and doors open to pick up any odour, identify any illuminated warning lights and conduct an overall interior inspection.
  • Audible check to assess any unexpected engine, exhaust, or transmission noises.

It also presents an opportunity to study the competition, understand their buying power, and see what stock is bought.

Support for physical auctions is more than just the traditional stock buying and networking, as Chris Rowthorn, Director of Motor Sales Operations at MotoNovo Finance, observes;

"Rather than the sterile nature of online purchasing, where bidding is often seen as a game of chance, physical opportunities are seen as a game of chess, where all of the senses are engaged in assessing the stock on offer and the competition. It is especially true for in-demand smaller cars."

As one buyer noted, the appeal of physical auctions is the chance to 'buy right'. Where demand outstrips supply, buyers can see and smell the cars, evaluating the condition in a way that cannot be replicated online. With in-demand small vehicle stock exceeding CAP Clean value commonly, regardless of mileage, gauging the time and cost of any remedial or preparation work, has a precise bearing on a buyer's bidding capability. Conversely, where there is less demand, as seen in larger luxury vehicles, the opportunity to 'bag a bargain' is easier when the car has been assessed.

Appraising the stock on offer is one primary reason for attending auctions. The other, more subtle reason is to assess the competition, as Chris concludes;

"The findings of an assessment designed to help us enhance our stock funding tools provided us with a welcome insight into buyers in the current market. On the one hand, much like used car buying consumers, the work reinforced the importance of seeing and touching the stock. However, what was even more revealing was the value buyers felt in seeing their fellow buyers in action and how it shaped their buying strategies."

Press release issued by MotoNovo Finance, March 2023

Trustpilot reviews