This year’s winner of the Remarketing Award is auction firm Aston Barclay. Impressing the judges with its embracing of digital technology, the arrival of a global pandemic saw the company still managing to sell over 12,000 vehicles in quarter two and a similar number in the month of July alone. 

The company commenced its digital revolution in 2017. A spokesperson says: “We became the first remarketing supplier in the UK to provide buyers with a mobile bidding app, creating an anywhere, anytime competitive market. With over 20 application releases to date and more than 13,500 iOS downloads, the Buyers App – a core component of our digital platform – has generated in excess of £85.5m in total vehicle sales value. Approximately £21m is attributed to van and LCV sales.

“This platform now combines our Appraisal, Dashboard, Online Catalogue, and e-Live auction products into an end-to-end used vehicle proposition. The digital journey takes individual used vehicles from initial vehicle appraisal, right through to physical delivery, with options to increase speed of sale, including dealer underwriting from our sister company The Car Buying Group.” 

To complete the buying cycle journey for its trade customers, the company launched Aston Barclay Stock Funding, powered by V12 Vehicle Finance, a wholesale online stock funding proposition.

Showing its commitment to the light commercial vehicle market in particular, the company has extended its used van auction programme with the launch of a dedicated sale at its 18-acre Donington Park site. Added to its weekly sales at Leeds and Westbury – which attract circa 250 buyers online – it claims to provide a strategic backbone of LCV sales throughout the UK and support the changing demands of the van market. Aston Barclay’s aim is to launch dedicated light commercial vehicle sales at all six of its sites over the coming 12 months.

Offering data transparency, as part of its Quarterly Insights Report, and tracked since Q1 2017, Aston Barclay provides an overview of the vans and double-cab pick-up markets. The report, which is distributed free of charge, tracks the market profile, highlighting the price, mileage and age of vehicles sold. The company also provides regular market commentary to further support the industry and provide high-level insight, which could be invaluable to any asset manager or potential buyer.

A key appointment made this year is Geoff Flood to the newly created role of national LCV manager. Flood, already well known in the remarketing industry, has run the dedicated light commercial vehicle sales at Leeds since early 2019. The company’s spokesperson claims that Flood has grown it into one of the north’s most successful van and pick-up sales. “Incremental volume from current vendors and new dealer and leasing clients going live means it is a perfect time to expand Aston Barclay’s LCV sales footprint,” adds the company’s representative. 

Summarising the results of its recent strategy, with an emphasis on digital transactions, the company claims it has seen a 25.2% increase in the number of buyers accessing used vehicle stock via a mobile device in 2019 – reaching a peak of 41.9%, and a 110% increase in the number of bids submitted via the mobile app during the same year.

Highly Commended: BCA

Taking the Highly Commended accolade in the remarketing category is BCA. Using portals already in use, the company was quickly able to adapt to the challenges raised by the unwelcome arrival of Covid-19. A company spokesperson says: “We adapted existing complementary online platforms – Live Online, Bid Now and Buy Now – into powerhouse selling channels, managing the entire BCA remarketing inventory previously primarily handled through the nationwide network of 24 remarketing centres. All parts of the BCA Group were involved in supporting the wider motor industry, not only BCA Remarketing, delivering an enhanced programme of digital sales daily, but also BCA Logistics managing Covid-secure single-vehicle deliveries, collections and end-of-life inspections.”

The superheated used van market of 2020 soon became apparent to BCA, with the firm stating that “conversions, average selling price and performance against guide values at BCA all remain at high levels, with sold volumes rising and the number of buyers… increasing significantly”.