Covid Blog Winter 2020 Update

Following yesterday’s news about the release of this latest lockdown and of the Xmas celebrations allowed, the markets carry on seemingly unaffected by this statement, at least so far.

The car markets have since the commencement of lockdown 2, been in freefall with prices dropping off dramatically. Indeed demand is now so poor that it is really just anything different that is selling, certainly anything with damage is being left behind. We believe this dramatic drop in demand is caused by a combination of issues, notably though the lockdown, uncertainty over the next few months and longer term employment opportunities. We are continuing with car sales of course, working hard from our virtual rostrums to make every penny count.

LCV sales have however continued to be extremely strong, across all sectors. Prices remain high with CAP values still being exceeded in all but the most heavily damaged stock. It would seem that the continued lack of stock supply and a strong retail demand for vans will keep prices high for the foreseeable future and almost certainly into the first quarter of 2021. Manheim Haydock had an exceptional 234 buyers online this week (w/c 23/11/20), for 175 entries, and a conversion rate of circa 90%!

So definitely a tale of two halves at the moment, with cars now struggling. Plant and equipment sales remain very strong too with the latest sale by Brightwell’s recording 480 registered buyers, for 549 lots!

That raises an interesting debating point, how many buyers will remain ‘online’ when markets finally return to normal. There are rumours circulating in the remarketing sector that at least one major auction player is considering never opening a physical auction centre again, remaining an online business only. Our view is that whilst the enforced online buying is a temporary measure physical buyers will return to market if and when the auctions “open up”, however this whole episode will have brought forward significantly the day when online auctions become the norm.

All auction centres continue to operate online and we continue to log into every sale to manage our client stock. Indeed it is somewhat busier now than normal, because stock can be entered every week if necessary until it is sold. So rather than attending 1 or 2 sales per site each month, we could be managing a sale every week. There is always the danger of over exposure though, presenting an asset for sale too often, even online. The old adage ‘the first bid is the best bid’ remains true to this day, although of course that is not always the case.