Coupes are desirable so can attract multiple bidders and make strong money, particularly if the cars that you’re disposing of are Audi, BMW, or Mercedes

The advice from Manheim’s senior auctioneer Andrew Shepherd is simple: to maximise the performance of your fleet at resale time, buy German.

Shepherd says: “BMW and Mercedes continue to successfully outperform rivals in the sector. We also predict strong residuals for the Audi A5 following its acclaimed launch earlier this month.”

High specification models also do well in this sector, and metallic paint and alloy wheels are a must. Other desirable options include climate control, satnav and full leather upholstery, which can add almost £1500 (on average) to a car at auction.

“Buyers tend to seek out vehicles with a high spec; usually, they will already have a potential customer waiting for the vehicle,” says Shepherd.

BCA’s UK network operations director, Simon Henstock, agrees: “In terms of specification, the higher the better as used buyers will expect to see all the best options. A leather interior is much preferable than cloth and a full range of electronic goodies from satnav to MP3 capability will be preferred.”

According to Henstock, “the used buyer expects to see high-value cars in as close to showroom condition as possible, so don’t disappoint them”. For that reason he suggests it’s best not to “dabble with non-factory-fitted body kits or spoilers as they can disrupt the elegant lines of a well-designed coupe body”. He also says that pre-sale Smart repairs could prove a good investment as “low coupe bodywork is prone to stone chips and kerb damage”.

As for colour, go for bold schemes – bright metallics in reds, silver or blue are great, and even black works well. However, Henstock says “white finishes get tired quickly so try to avoid those”.

According to Manheim mileage is less of an issue in this sector, particularly for premium German cars in diesel guise as they have the tendency to run and run.

Valuable time

Henstock comments that because of the nature of the coupe market it’s important to give resellers plenty of time: “For a relatively small sector, coupes encompass a range of cars that runs from luxury, high value models to more mainstream examples. Successfully remarketing those top-end niche models calls for a different approach – some models slip easily into our dedicated Top Car sales, which feature prestige and high value vehicles, others are more at home in specialist sportscar sections or similar. Many will end up with the ‘bread and butter’ cars in a fleet and lease section, but it’s worth highlighting them as they are a little different – perhaps put them at the front of the line-up or make a feature of them in the catalogue.

“Because of the additional activity required, it is worth consigning cars early, which gives your remarketer time to get the message across to the buyers. With the specialist higher value vehicles, the pre-sale marketing is critical. Some of BCA’s larger corporate customers will ‘save’ vehicles for special one-off events where they know there will be a concentration of buyers interested in this type and value of stock. This really is key, because the right sort of buying power on the auction hall floor leads to success. At the top end of the coupe price curve you have cars valued in excess of £30,000 and few can afford to spend those sorts of sums on a whim.

Giving your remarketer time ensures the right mix of buyers attend – specialised trade buyers and the all-important non-trade – typically small business owners or professional people, who are often seeking their own prestige ‘company car’ and can benefit from buying in an offset tax position.”