With 22 auction centres around the UK, BCA (British Car Auctions) handles thousands of cars of every shape, size and description every day. In the first of a new series, BCA's Tim Naylor runs down some popular sellers in the 4x4 sector at auction.
"The smaller 4x4 sector is a favourite on the school-run, certainly in the more well-heeled parts of the country and is dominated by 'lifestyle' cars. The Freelander, RAV 4, Vitara and CRV are the main contenders, alongside good value offerings such as the Jimny and Panda and with new models entering the fray next year, the used market will see plenty of choice.
"Even with the new Freelander, new RAV 4 and Fiat Sedici launching next year, we are not expecting to see any great changes in demand for existing models. We won't see big volumes of any of these models in the used market for around 12 months and even when we do, it will be the nearly-new market where any effect will be felt.
"The used market for larger 4x4's is less fashion-driven. If you need the pulling power then you have to invest in a Land Rover, Range Rover, Grand Cherokee or BMW X5 according to your budget. With the first major slug of depreciation borne by the first owner, some of these bigger 4x4's can look spectacular value at three or four years old. But be aware that volumes of 4x4's are generally thin in the marketplace and demand is always high, so expect plenty of competition if you are bidding."
"For the private buyer, 4x4s entered for sale by company fleets and leasing operators represent good value for money. Generally around three years and 60,000 miles, you can be confident they have been well maintained by the one company owner and should be complete with a well-stamped service history.
"So what should you look for? Specification is important and alloys, leather, aircon and increasingly sat-nav are favoured in the used market and add value. Make sure the spare wheel is in place, particularly if it is exterior- mounted on the rear-hatch. Diesels are generally favoured, but petrol also does well as long as the mileage is not too high."
"And even though it may never have been further off-road than up a kerb, make sure the car has a comprehensive service history. Some sellers get a pre-sale inspection done by the auctioneers to further promote buyer confidence."
- Five tips when buying 4x4's
- Don't pay over the odds for a base model (remember you will have to sell it one day!)
- Avoid incomplete models - replacement wheels and other parts can be expensive
- Choose vehicles that have all the relevant paperwork - particularly the service history
- Do your homework - know what to look out for on the vehicle you want to buy
- Set yourself a budget and be prepared to walk away if the bidding goes too high
Log onto www.commercialauctionview.com to see regularly updated catalogues from BCA's car, caravan & motorhome sales programme.