SALES through epyx’s fleet remarketing platform moved back towards normal levels ahead of this week’s used car and van showroom reopenings, the company is reporting.
1link Trade Buyer is used by leasing companies and major fleets to sell cars and vans to a community of more than 3,500 independent and franchise traders.
Debbie Fox, commercial director at epyx, said that sales had fallen away at the start of this year but were now broadly comparable to the same time last year, before the pandemic started to take effect in the UK.
She said: “Activity through the platform has been highly variable over the past 12 months. It’s either been notably low, such as during the original lockdown and this January, or notably high, which we saw over the summer when there was a definite boom in used car sales.
“In February, we recorded a return to what you might call broadly normal trading conditions, with results only a little below the year-on-year figure, and March was even better.
“It appears that traders have been gradually building up their stock a little ahead of the April showroom reopenings and we are optimistic that we will see a return to customary trading patterns from the Spring onwards.
“While dealers have undergone a tough period during this lockdown, the feedback we are receiving is that their mood continues to be relatively buoyant. Car and van trade values have remained steady and many vehicle retailers have learnt an entire new skillset when it comes to maximising online sales that should see them well-placed for the future.”
Fox added that epyx was certain that traders would generally continue to source more stock online through channels such as 1link Trade Buyer following the coronavirus crisis, even if traditional auctions reopen.
“We’ve had more than 350 dealers join the platform during the last 12 months and are taking this as a sign that more retailers are recognising how digital sources of stock have become increasingly important in recent times.
“Our view has long been that physical auctions should always have a place in remarketing but the advantages of buying online have been made abundantly clear over the last year.”