Should you buy from Auction

Do you really want to buy a car from Auction ?

Well of course you do,  that’s were all the cheap cars are right? Ehm yes/no maybe.

This is my honest opinion , I go to auctions most days because I have to. Mainly because I have to feed a machine.  I have customers and garages waiting for cars,  they have showrooms  to fill and are not in a position to tell staff and customers “sorry no cars this week, the market was too hard”.  By going to Auction I have a good chance of buying 10 cars in a day and putting a big hole in my order book, but that doesn’t change the fact that some days I analyse what I’ve purchased and think  “I should have got 2 years warranty with that one I paid so much money for it”.

Auctions are not always the cheapest place to buy a car.   However over the course of my year as a professional car buyer they work for me because I’m not under as much pressure as you .  I can walk away from an expensive sale empty handed and still buy a few cars over the phone, and go back to auction again tomorrow where I might have a better day. Also professionally They are a meeting place for a lot of trade contacts,  so good for business and even if I’m not having a buying day I sit in the stalls writing down prices for data which I will analyse for myself  later.  This obviously is unimportant to you.

I buy hundreds of cars a year from auction therefore my auction fee is very small!  For example an average car purchase price of say £7000-£8000 my auction fee is about £40 plus vat.   Joe or Jane Bloggs that  just walked in off the street and bought your first car WHAM!!!  You better have a good read of the auction buyer’s tariff before you wave your hand in the air like you just don’t care,  because your £7000-£8000 car has just cost you about an extra £400 quid.  Plus they will charge you paperwork handling fees; they will charge you for handling your credit/debit card you will also be hit with a 2% levy if you choose to pay cash.

Okay everything is relative  if you have just bought a ten grand car for £7500 you will gladly give the auction company their cut, but it’s a cost that you need to factor in up front.  When the car you are buying is a mid market golf diesel,  at the same sort of money that you can get them from a dealer ,then you have just messed up.  A friend of mine once bought his first car from an auction company, a 3 month old  BMW  Coupe.  It was a bargain until he got an invoice for £1150 of an auction fee.

Under Pressure:  you think you’re not but you are.  When you get to an auction you have most probably taken a day off work. Most times I see young couples together so your Partner has also taken the day off.   You want a 3-5 year old Ford focus tdi ,but there are nine of them!!   No problem you will pick out the best one or the cheapest.  Unfortunately most busy auctions have 2-3 lanes running at the same time,  so you may find you have to choose one car over another.   And then of course it’s always at the end of the day when you can really see what car was the best value i.e. when everything is sold!

In Summary I’m not being down on auctions,  the majority of my stock comes from them and I thoroughly enjoy being there.  My main advantage is that I am a buyer and I am on the lookout for good value.   In an auction with 300-500 cars, I will check every car and skip between lanes picking off the odd bargain at a car auction.  If I am attending a car auction with a remit to buy one particular car and nothing else,  there is a good chance I will waste a day.

Look around there are more fleet/lease companies selling directly through remarketing companies now,  and whilst not all their cars add up quite a few do.  For normal retail people the ability to view a car in their own time and on their own terms, whilst having a telephone number to call when there is a problem is a luxury that must carry some value.

Look at my buying guides for buying privately or through E-bay.  I still buy stock this way and there are plenty of bargains to be had from genuine people.  Increasingly people are buying a new car and agreeing a buy in (part exchange) value for their car which may be low.  They agree with the dealer that they May take this offer up when their new car is ready for collection but in the meantime they have a few weeks to see if they can sell it privately for a few hundred more.

Anyway here ends the Sermon about car auctions. For some people and some particular models of car it may be the route you have chosen. If so please head on to our guide to Buying at auction.Which you will find Here.