In a world where time is at a premium, not everybody who wants to buy a van at an auction can get to the sale in question, inspect the vehicle before it’s driven past the auctioneer’s rostrum and physically bid for it. It is a problem that has long been recognised by BCA, and the firm has now done something about it.
The remarketing giant has launched an online video appraisal package called VanTube, the winner of our Innovation Award for 2014.
It gives the prospective purchaser a 360° overview of the light commercial he or she is interested in. You can examine the vehicle’s interior and exterior to your heart’s content and the video is supported by a series of internal and external photographs with a zoom feature. That means that if there is something about the
van that doesn’t look quite right then you can zoom in and get a closer view. Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it’s something that will prompt you to forget this particular vehicle and move on to the next one. Obviously, it is not as good as crawling all over the van yourself and kicking the tyres, but not far off.
VanTube can be used in conjunction with another service BCA provides, Live Online, which allows buyers to see light commercials going through an auction many miles away and bid on them in real time if they so wish. When doing so they are bidding against other online purchasers and against bidders in the auction hall. BCA’s website assists customers who are using Live Online by alerting them to vehicles they might be interested in that are due to appear in sales countrywide. Nor is Live Online the only type of auction it broadcasts: it also holds internet-only sales, often dedicated to particular vendors. It should, perhaps, be stressed that only professional buyers can bid in Live Online sales.
They have to register in advance with BCA and they must be BCA card-holders.
Renault has driven off with our Highly Commended award in its new, battery-powered, Twizy Cargo van.
Admittedly, the Twizy Cargo is just a little on the small side. Powered by a modest 17hp electric motor, it offers a payload capacity of only 75kg, a 0.18m3 load area and a restricted range of 50 miles or so.
On the other hand, it’s easy to park, the driver can hop in and out from either side of the cab, the batteries can be recharged completely in 3.5 hours at a cost of roughly £1, and you can plug the built-in charging cable into an ordinary domestic power socket. Servicing costs are minimal and anybody who goes into central London can claim exemption from the congestion charge.