ASTON Barclay plans to welcome back physical buyers to its auction halls from 12 April, whilst respecting the latest Government guidance and working to strict Covid-19 measures.
Its decision to return to physical auctions was supported by a major survey of buyers where 84% of the 673 respondents (582 buyers) said they would attend future physical auctions.
Aston Barclay plans to introduce physical sales gradually, with buyers able to attend dealer part exchange, Motability, and light commercial sales to view vehicles and stand and bid in the auction halls across its auction network.
Meanwhile, all ex-fleet, leasing and OEM sales will continue online, with buyers being invited to the halls to view fleet and lease stock prior to the sale. OEM stock will remain offsite.
A return to driving vehicles through the halls at every auction site and sale will not be immediate. Subject to any further Government changes on coronavirus tiering, vehicles will be driven through the halls for the first time on 12 April starting with the LCV sale at Donington, followed by dealer sales across the network on the 13th.
Aston Barclay’s survey found 76% of buyers confirmed they would buy more used cars at a physical auction, particularly older cars saying they use the opportunity to carry out their own appraisals before bidding as well as gauging market sentiment in the hall.
However, 21% of buyers said opening physical sales would not influence the number of used cars they bid on, while 3% said they would buy fewer cars at a physical auction. Following the pandemic forcing all sales online buyers have freely admitted to liking the flexibility of attending multiple auctions across the country online.
Vendors were also surveyed and 100% said they would attend physical sales to represent their brand on the rostrum, with 73% stating that in their eyes returning to physical would influence the number of vehicles they sell at auction. Vendors also admitted to physical sales enabling them to gauge the atmosphere and overall used market in the auction hall.
As part of Aston Barclay’s back to physical plans all buyers attending the new sales will be signing up to a strict set of rules including:
- One bidder per account attending each lane
- Face coverings being worn at all times
- Observing individual site’s one-way systems
- Adhering to strict social distancing protocol
Justin Lane, Aston Barclay’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “From 12 April we will enter a new hybrid physical and online auction phase whilst working to strict Government Covid-19 restrictions.
“We have been in constant discussion with our buyers and not surprisingly at the lower value end of the market and our LCV buyers requested a return to onsite pre-sale inspections and being able to bid in the auction hall.
“We are pleased to welcome all buyers back providing they adhere to the strict guidelines we have put in place on site and of course every sale will continue to be open to online buyers.”