Black Book Live editor Mark Bulmer reports on his impressions of the market from a recent sale at BCA Belle Vue.
With plenty of room to park and nobody waiting for a catalogue, I was beginning to think I had come on the wrong day; but once I entered the hall for this sale it was clear that I hadn’t. With over 600 vehicles lined up it looked more like a thousand. If it had been my first time at this sale I could easily have thought “where is the stock shortage?”
I have seen this number for sale here before but not for some time. Once I checked the site it was clear that this sale was almost its entire stock and if the conversions were strong, this site would once more be low on supply. I checked through the cars and noticed around 70, mainly from Jardine and Inchcape, that were CAP clean or close to it. I also noticed that the CC trade vehicles and the Ford Budget sales did not carry any grading, this section equated to around 200 vehicles - almost a third of the vehicles on offer. Overall however, some good stock could be seen and the mix was diverse and seemed to have something for everyone.
The hall quickly started to fill and the attendance ended up being very good. The buyers were a mixture of private and independents. I didn’t notice any main dealers but then again I was not expecting to see any. I took up a vantage point in the gallery as I wanted to note who was bidding and how regularly. What was apparent straight away was just how fast the bidding was and even on average grade vehicles the internet activity was also very strong. Older vehicles up to seven years old were in high demand as long as they were in reasonable condition. I noticed the Audi A4 was very popular with both trade and private buyers and some sold over CAP clean even when they were a grade 3. By the mid part of the sale the attendance was very strong and I think it was a wise decision to run with only two halls instead of three, this meant that buyers could cover the sale more easily and increase the competition in the two halls. It’s a while since I have seen a better attendance for this sale at the end of September and would say that I would have to go back to 2009 to recall a stronger sale, especially when you consider that only private and independent buyers were in the hall as the main dealers were missing. The supermarkets were not having it all their own way, I noticed one young girl who was with her family and trying to buy a Vauxhall Corsa. She was beaten on the first couple by two very experienced supermarket buyers. On the third attempt she competed against the professional, but in such a measured way it was as if she had been buying cars for years. Not only was she watching the rostrum she was also very aware of who was bidding.
I was pleased to see just how close cars were selling to our values and when you took the grades into consideration we were very accurate. Some upward adjustment has recently been made to SUV values in Black Book Live but looking at today’s performance I think we might be moving values up again. I watched a Land Rover Discovery graded as a 3 sell for several hundred pounds over Book. I also have seen some large movements down in the last few days on convertibles and looking at how they have performed today we have caught the fall right on time. Some nice quality cabriolets with nice specification and mileage missed reserve, although I have to say some vendors might have judged the cabriolet market incorrectly.
I know that we keep being reminded that extra stock is expected into the market anytime now, such is the strength of the used car market at the moment, I think that it might not hit values quite as much as we might think. It might also not affect values for very long, once dealers get through this additional stock it will be back to normal, looking for stock. All in all this was a very enjoyable sale with a great turnout and a strong conversion rate. The only down side is that too much of the stock was old and poor quality.