Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Amin_{p}
hello guys and girls, just a quick question, I have been looking to buy a car from auction but it is quite risky, specially because they dont let you try the cars out. There is only so much you can do by just visually checking the car. I was told an interesting strategy which was never go and buy the first day, go to the SAME auction a few times. This way you can see who are the car dealers who come there. These dealers, seem to somehow know which cars are good and which ones are about to fall to bits, so the best things is to bid on the cars they are interested in and they bid for. Since a dealer will only buy the car to make a good profit, if you are prepared to pay 50-100 more, then you can outbid them easily. For example if there is a car with market price 700, dealer wont bid past 350-400, so if you are prepared to bid little higher than normal, you get the car. Do you agree with this strategy? or is there another way to be as sure as this that you end up with a good car? I am quite scared about buying there because i have heard some nasty storied which (like a mechanic told me guy bought a Mitsubishi 4x4 from an auction, but it had a tractor engine inside it, so they had to get an engine ordered form Japan... and it cost him zillions to fix it). Guys help me out here, what are the trade secrets? cheers - Amin
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Vansboy
If you're looking at the banger price range, you mentioned, don't expect the people bidding on it have too much of an advantage on whats falling to bits, or not, than you!
Basic checks are all you can do, on these cheapies.
Noisey, smokey engine, obvious cosmetic repairs, rot,length of MoT, cracked screen, tyres, is there a spare...
You would best go to an auction that has part exchange, branded, big dealer sections, within the sale.
The sort of thing you'll see are the more genuine trade-ins, with no reserve price, that may be old, but not knackered!
Call your local British Car Auction centre to see when they have these sales.
good luck!
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Amin_{p}
hi Mark

thanks for your info. I was actually looking to buy in the region $1000-£1500, and the figures i said were just examples. nontheless, I take your point. one other question how important is the warrenty the auction place gives? are you safe with it?
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Jonathan {p}

I'm no expert, but I do know some tradespeople. They advise to buy stock from the large franchises, rather than from private individuals stock (eg quicks over BCA approved). I'm not sure exactly why, but these do seem to go for more £ than the private entries, could be to do with less likely to have been clocked.

Hope that helps.

Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - DavidHM
There are a few possible reasons why I'd go for the main dealer part exes over others.

First and foremost is that these cars have been traded in at a main dealer. This means that the previous owner had enough money to pay top dollar for a new car rather than going to a 'we approve anyone who can write' finance house. This means they've probably also bothered looking after the car (as you know they've replaced it with a good one) and have had the money to do so. These cars will be at the auction because they're too old to sit alongside the (probably no more) shiny new ones.

Secondly, when private people sell cars at auction, you have to ask why. Couldn't they be traded in if they wanted to avoid the hassle of a private sale? Did it need a quick sale to avoid a finance repo? (Is it even a never maintained finance repo?) Has it been clocked - private sellers have nothing to fear from Trading Standards. Basically, there has to be a reason why the car isn't either swapped at the dealer or sold privately, which would make the seller more money if the car was any good.

In terms of what to look out for - anything with history availabnle is good. Mileage is not that important - assume anything that's not a direct ex-lease car has been clocked (and even then...) Straight bodywork, smooth, smoke-free running, original wheel trims, and a car that looks like it did (or at least has the same bits) when it came out the factory. The plastics should still be grainy, not smooth, the seats firm, the seat belts return to normal, tyre condition matches the mileage, the car hasn't been resprayed or over polished - particularly watch out for bits of dried T-cut in the windscreen rubbers, etc. Generally a good car is one that feels 'new' - it's an intangible thing that isn't infallible.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Amin_{p}

Thanks a lot for your information. Greatly appreciate it. Based on what you say, on the whole it is not then such a good idea to buy from an auction (or do I get the wrong impression), is it true that you can find a good bargain out there, or does in this case as well, the `No Free Lunch? Theorem apply? Is it worth paying the extra hundreds to buy from Auto Trader (or loot?.) and be safe than sorry? I am in this mess because I have about a grand and I want a fairly decent car with insurance group not higher than 7. I have noticed a lot of cars that come to the auctions are big cars which have been ex-cabs ?. Or cars which are obviously dodgy. As you said one wonders why a car that would sell itself go to an auction? Having said that I have been spending the past three month going through loot etc and the problem there is when you phone, the guy says something like, oh body work is in top nick, and by the time you drag yourself wherever he is ?which could be many miles- what you see in front of you has so many bubbles under the paint, you would think there is a Jackle and Hyde transformation just about to take place.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Robin
Some years ago now I bought a car at auction. We tried to follow your strategy: go to the auction lots of times to get the feel of it, try to ID the dealers etc etc. Funny thing was though, even when standing at the auctioneer's side of the ring and looking at the assembled masses we could not spot who was bidding for the cars. Secret signals or what. The speed of the process was also incredible: in the time that the local general auction would sell a houseplant for a couple of quid, the car auction would have got through a couple of cars selling for thousands. Scary. We did buy a nice car though, saved a load of wonga and kept it for years and years with never a problem. The best advice we got was that there is always another car later. Set a limit and keep to it. Buying a car like this was really quite exciting. Funnily enough I eventually sold it at the same auction. My reasons for selling at auction were that I was being sent abroad for a couple of years and had to shift it quickly and on a given day just before we set sail. Got buttons for it.

I have heard (and I mean no disrespect to the guys here who do this for a living) that sometimes car dealers deliberately bid up a car if they think an ordinary bloke is after it. Does this actually happen?
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - DavidHM
I don't buy and sell cars for a living but I think I have a pretty good eye for a straight car. I would certainly consider getting my next car from an auction, although I will be spending more than you.

Don't forget that Loot prices can be haggled down, unless the private seller is an arrogant fool with no idea of the car's worth, or a trader on razor thin margins. There are some real bargains in Loot as well.

As for dealers bidding up - not much point if it's not your own car. I'm sure that some of the owners and traders do show up at auctions and rise the price, although if they are up against a private guy who knows what he's doing and it's not their own car, they could stand to lose out quite badly if it goes over the odds.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - eMBe {P}
Amin: Have you done the following?:
On the left here, click on "how to buy & sell cars";
Then, on that page on the right, click on How to sell at auctions;
That will open up a sub-menu under the heading, click through all the items to learn from HJ's years of experience of attending auctions.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - expat
I have bought a couple of cars at auction but I have an advantage in that my employer has a big pool of vehicles which are all leased. When I am looking for a replacement car I keep my eye out for one which is going to be turned over soon. I chat to the regular driver and try to get a test drive. Then I wait for it to turn up at the auction. Mostly they are two years old so I get the balance of the three year new vehicle warranty but I never have needed to claim that yet. The price is well below dealers prices and the risk is low if you know the background of the vehicle.

Keep your eye out for a friend or neighbour with a company car. Ask him if it is any good. If you can track it through the system when it is disposed of you can get yourself a good deal. I don't think that doing this is in any way unethical because you really aren't getting anymore info than anyone who went to the trouble of ringing up the fleet manager and asking. Most fleet managers don't worry about telling people which are the good cars to go for because it doesn't matter to them. The cars are owned by the leasing company not by their employer. I'll never know as much as the professional dealers I am bidding against but this helps me even things up a little.

Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Amin_{p}
You are too right. I went to the place today. It takes me about 5 second to think whether to raise my bid or not, but the in 3 second they sell two cars. Also about how they bid, I have developed a new theory, I think they do it using their nostrils. I spent ages trying to figure out who was bidding. By the was about IDing the dealer, the only thing I managed to ID was the cars who were there last time. I could swear I saw more than 70% of the cars last weeks, is this normal? Or is the auction place I go to dodgy? (they also seem to have lots of cars with no papers what-so-ever).
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - DavidHM
The auction you mention sounds like a dodgy one near me. I'm not willing to say where it is on here, but I am in SW London. Probably the best thing to do is to phone your local BCA and ask them when they have a dedicated sale of main dealer part exchanges - of course, some of those will be complete dogs, but the majority of the cars will be better than average for cars of their age at auction.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Steve G
Your last post Amin tells the true story of what goes on at auctions. You say 70% of the cars seem to be reappearing from previous auctions and that you cannot see who is bidding ? Well put the two together and its obvious what is really happening (Auctioneer is taking bids off the wall,the cars are not selling to real bidders).

If you are not confident in the idea of buying at auction my advice would be to buy privately. You pay a little extra but you can test drive the car, check the paperwork fully and not have the pressure of auction enviroment.Just remember to HPI check the car and carry out basic security checks (Vin tags,chassis numbers e.t.c).
Good luck
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - carayzee
Amin - with your budget (and at BCA) the cars will be sold as seen - anything over 5 years is sold as seen and un-warranted mileage.
As for bidding on what the trade are bidding on, its a good point, but not unless you definately know where the car came from e.g. ex-rental ex-fleet.
You will often find the smaller traders "bidding up" their own cars, then walking away shaking their heads when it's got to a price they're happy with.
As for main dealers - the only cut-n-shut I saw in 2 years working there was from a main dealer who had unwittingly taken it as a p/x - you would be covered by the indemnity if this was the case. At the £1500 level - I'd go private, much better chance to look them over, examine documents, history etc. and even drive them.
Best Auction Strategy ??!?! - Amin_{p}
i agree with you. i think for my price range, the Auction is too risky, and the Auction car that fall in that bracket are the ones most prone to being dodgy. I went to a BCA auction today, needless to say there were lots of nice cars, however outside my price range by two or three fold. it back to Autotrader then...... (there must be second hand car God somewhere)


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