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VRA: Industry must learn to share used car pricing data

Date: 08 February 2011   |   Author:

The remarketing industry must make a concerted effort to offer improved levels and speed of data on the prices vehicles are making in the market, according to Mark Hankey, director of the new Vehicle Remarketing Association.

"Is the time right for a collective body of people to get together to try and pool this sort of information to help us all do our jobs better as individuals and as an industry?" Hankey, who is also BCA's sales director, asked the VRA's first conference held late last month. "In this room there are people almost at war with each other at times, and we are in a room together to make this industry better; I think there's a will to do it.

"We need to move away from the dark art. So many people choose to shroud the management art of pricing in gut feel," said Hankey. "We've got to start applying science based on accurate historical data from the guides and auction companies. We need to find a way of putting it together."

Hankey admitted it wouldn't be easy to pull together, but claimed it is a necessary move to help the industry increase price stability.

"It would bring more price stability and allow people to have something more real-time and allow people to make even more informed decisions," he told BusinessCar. "People are using guides and it's the best place to start - using Cap Clean as a benchmark - but even the guides will admit that the accuracy is not 100% and if we can narrow the gap to accuracy then it's good for everyone."

Hankey said the information wouldn't have to be of a commercially sensitive absolute pricing nature, but could be trends or analysis. "In conversations I've had with people, there appears to be interest in something a little more central and real-time."

Regarding timescale, he predicted that if nothing happens in the next six or 12 months then there obviously wasn't the appetite to make it work. "If it takes years then it has failed - there's got to be something gathering pace as we move through the half of this year to go live in quarter three or four," he said. It's not yet clear how the data could be managed or analysed, although the VRA is looking to become an information portal as it moves forward.

As far as threats to success go, Hankey pinpointed two. The first is people not being prepared "to play ball", and the second being people not being willing to adapt and change the way they work in light of better information.

"From a VRA perspective, is this something that should be a core objective?" asked Hankey. "It will only be an organisation like this that is able to galvanise the industry."

The VRA has been set up to increase awareness of remarketing activities, provide an industry voice in trade and consumer media, provide a focal point for industry matters, drive standards of professionalism through the recruitment and training of quality people and offer a forum for networking, debate and best practice.

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