Having published our article on the rise of the private auction buyer, it has been interesting to see some of the very relevant comments made about how the situation may develop. Having seen many cars reach such dizzy heights recently, many trade buyers are now convinced that there is a good proportion of private buyers who have been so seduced by the auction propaganda that they are driving prices to a wholly unrealistic level. They are creating the perception that because they are not buying from a dealer they are saving £000s on a car purchase when in reality they could actually be paying retail prices, or more, but without the back up of the traditional outlet.
The buying frenzy at auction seems to be showing little sign of cooling and with demand still relatively high, and private buyers now competing with trade buyers, it could be creating a very artificial market which would suit the auctions and their vendors. The truth is it could actually be hurting buyers in the long term and our advice would be to thoroughly research the car you are interested in and compare prices and packages right across the board. If you see a car you are interested in advertised on a website or forecourt at one price, remember that before you attempt to buy a similar version from auction that may save you £1,000 or more up front, if it needs servicing, an MOT, warranty or any kind of smart repair then it may not be as cheap as it seems and, of course, if it breaks down there is no one to take it back to
The picture may in fact be a lot more complicated. As the OFT launch their investigation into why complaints about used cars continue to rise it may mean that traditional dealers need to up their game to win back customers to their showrooms, tempting them away from the perceived bargains at the auctions, which many car buyers are seeing as being worth the risk.
Subscribe to Motor Trade Insider by Email