A no-nonsense guide to fleet vehicle remarketing
Simon Henstock joined BCA in 1978 and has held a number of senior operational and sales roles in the intervening years. His current role encompasses operational direction and strategy for BCA’s nationwide network of remarketing centres.
Buyers want fleet cars and vans
‘One thing you learn very quickly within the remarketing environment is how desirable one-owner cars and vans from a good company operator are. The combination of a good colour, decent specification, sensible mileage and a full service history are very compelling to used car buyers, whatever the make and model may be.’
‘Buyers like to buy clean and well-presented vehicles, complete with the service history, V5 ,a long MOT (12 months ideally) and all the parts present and correct. It's vital that vehicles have the service book, spare keys and the spare fob as it's both expensive and time consuming to get replacements. The less work that a dealer has to do to sell a vehicle, the better.’
Sensible valuation is the key to successful selling
‘However, if your ex-fleet vehicles are not sensibly appraised, graded and valued there is the risk they may not sell the first time they are offered. Best practice is to value and grade vehicles according to their age, condition and mileage and in line with current market conditions – take advice on valuations from your remarketing partner.’
‘Relying on a guide price alone without an appraisal or acknowledging market trends can lead to unsold cars on your inventory and disappointed buyers who are left with a string of provisional bids. Dealers find it very frustrating being asked to wait for provisional sales to be confirmed. Many are working with limited capital and as such they need to know exactly what their commitments are in terms of stock purchased and whether they are going to meet their buying targets for the day.
‘Put yourself in the buyer’s position. Would you pay the full asking price for a vehicle that requires extensive and time consuming preparation, meaning it cannot be sold for several weeks?
Inspection keeps you close to the fleet
‘In many instances it is not possible for a fleet manager to assess vehicles before they enter the remarketing arena. Professional end-of-life vehicle inspection is key to both identifying any rechargeable damage and progressing the vehicle into the remarketing process, while mid-life inspections offer another data point in the vehicle’s working life and should be part of the fleet manager’s armoury. Where possible, encourage a no-blame culture amongst company drivers so damage is reported quickly and dealt with before it deteriorates and costs rise.’
Use the tools in the remarketing box
‘Cars in ready-to-retail condition sell faster and for more money. Pre-sale preparation ensures vehicles look their best and standout in a crowd, helping them to achieve the best possible value. Bring dull paint back to life with a machine operated polish and steam clean the engine bay so the car looks almost factory fresh. If there is some minor cosmetic damage, then discuss using SMART (small/medium automotive repair techniques) with your remarketing partner to put value back in.’
‘SMART offers good value long-lasting repairs to scuffed bumpers, stone chips, kerbed alloy wheels and interior and exterior trim that if left untreated might deter potential buyers from bidding. Dealers tell me that they are happy to pay more for a car in ready-to-retail condition with neat alloys, clean bodywork, unchipped paint and no cabin damage because they know they can sell that car immediately.
Time is money
‘Moving vehicles quickly and efficiently through the remarketing process is a critical for fleet managers at de-fleet time. Holding costs for a vehicle may be less visible than outright selling price but they can significantly adversely impact on fleet costs. Vehicles deteriorate with age and generally drop in value and this cost only stops when the vehicle is sold. Seek a remarketing partner who can sell your vehicles within days and release the capital back to you promptly. Having a multi-channel vehicle remarketing strategy allows fleets to sell via a number of channels, including ‘upstream’ even before the vehicle comes off fleet.