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Andy Brown's blog - 10 August: Could you get more when you sell your fleet?

Date: 10 August 2015

Andy Brown is managing director of CD Fleet Services

Last week I got chatting to an antique jewellery trader who has a nice little sideline in reselling used Maseratis.

Turns out his local Maserati dealership is too busy selling new ones to handle its part-exchanges - so he buys them for cash, tidies them up and then sells them on at a healthy profit.

You might think this is an extreme case and the exception, rather than the rule. But I could quote you plenty of similar examples in the fleet industry where cars (and vans) coming to the end of their useful life are not realising their full value on resale.

The fact is, we find many business owners, especially those in SMEs, are often too busy to devote proper time and effort to getting the best price for their ex-fleet cars.

Of course, if the vehicles are on lease, then it's not their problem. But many SMEs still fund their fleet themselves, either through outright purchase or more traditional lease purchase schemes. At the end of the day the risk is down to them.

So, we have businesses defaulting to the path of least effort (and most likely, least value). This can mean just accepting the part-exchange price on offer from a supplying dealership, selling the vehicles to family and friends or, as in the case of our Maserati example, accepting a cash bid from a trade buyer.

In fact, we recently came across one company that sold its ex-fleet vehicles from the office car park to a 'friendly' trader. Not only was this inconvenient for other members of staff, it also meant the company only had one offer on the table (and the cars sat around waiting for the trader to arrange collection).

I suppose this might just about be acceptable if we didn't already have a highly efficient, cost effective remarketing channel available to anybody with vehicles to sell.

Auctions (and I don't just mean our auction) offer you the opportunity to maximise value in an open, competitive market and get a rapid return on your asset.

Not only that, professional auction and remarketing companies will (to a greater or lesser extent) guide you through the process, advise you on how to get best value, collect and deliver the vehicle for you - and credit check your buyer. What's not to like?

The bottom line is: if you had some antique jewellery to sell, you probably wouldn't go to a car dealer. You'd go and talk to a couple of jewellery experts, get a valuation and then sell to the highest bidder in a specialist auction. Why should cars be any different?

Meanwhile, if you're in the market for a pre-owned Maserati, just let me know.