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Manheim to boost auction sales with 'Superseller' plan

Date: 23 December 2008   |   Author: Rupert Saunders

Manheim's Mike Pilkington expects values for used company cars to return to normal by the new year

Auction giant Manheim is to launch a new 'Superseller' programme in an attempt to increase sale conversion rates and clear unsold stock. The concept has been successful in the USA, where Manheim is headquartered, and has already been trialled in the UK this year.

At the heart of the Superseller concept is a commitment by the vendors, mainly business car finance and leasing companies, to sell at least 80% of the stock entered on any one day. The Superseller sales will be heavily promoted and held on specific, stand-alone days.

"We need to get confidence back into the market," said Mike Pilkington, managing director of Manheim Auctions. "Buyers need to know that cars are going to be sold on the day and, if they see cars being sold, they start to bid. Otherwise, everybody just keeps their hands in their pockets."

Pilkington believes it was uncertainty over used car values that was "the real killer" of market demand over the summer and some vendors have not yet fully adapted to the lower residual values or adjusted reserve prices.

"In the present market buyers have become increasingly selective about who and where they buy from," he said. "We have started to see a real disparity between fleets who go to auction ready to sell and those who hold back.

"The active sellers have retained the confidence of the buyers and we still see competitive bidding. Values are often more; they certainly don't go down."

Pilkington added the trend toward not sending a vendor representative to the auction was "a real false economy". He said vendors needed to "see and feel" the market place so they could make instant decisions about whether to accept provisional bids or not. Increasingly buyers wanted to "buy on the hammer".