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Cost and condition transparency concerns voiced at VRA panel session

Date: 02 March 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Conference report: Speaking at a panel session at the VRA conference, members recognised the need for greater transparency over the condition and price of used vehicles.

Members of the panel were specifically referring to the difference in condition labelling between the two major auction houses, with Manheim operating an alphabetical grading and BCA using a numerical system.

Mike Pilkington, MD of Manheim Remarketing, said: "Getting that grading right is very important and a very valuable tool. As an industry, we've got a lot of work to do in this area to make sure we've something that's reliable."

Managing editor of Glass's, Adrian Rushmore, linked this to the growing online auction scene: "Electronic auctions have a fantastic future but it requires better description and those two things go hand-in-hand. We need to be able to define price, cut out some of the variables and settle on a condition. Then you can improve the way you value vehicles."

Panel members also discussed the increasing popularity of online auctions and how they were expected to develop in the near future.

Mark Hankey, sales director at BCA, claimed that there will always be a requirement for physical auctions: "I can see that people could perceive that's the way it could go, but buyers will still come physically to buy vehicles at auction."

Delegates were asked to vote on whether online selling would ultimately become the dominant channel over physical sales. The vast majority believed that it would, as 25% of delegates believed that there was a 70-90% chance of this happening.

Pilkington said Manheim had carried out similar research among its customers in this area but the results showed that buyers would ultimately dictate the pace at which this would happen.

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