Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer:
For as long as there have been company cars on our roads, fleet managers have bought these off the peg according to which car best suits their employee needs and, of course, the price.
The travelling sales rep or service engineer would simply go along to his/her dealer at the allotted time and get the keys to their nice new Vauxhall Viva, Hillman Imp, Ford Escort or even Cortina if they were lucky.
For private buyers today, with the complexities of dealer options lists, the concept of pointing at a shiny new car on the showroom floor and saying, ‘I’ll have that one over there please,’ has long since gone.
New car dealerships are centralised and stock accessed via a national pool of vehicles.
Your order is processed, a vehicle found and shipped by HGV to the showroom for final preparation and presentation on your happy day.
Lease buying is now very much the trend for fleet users and they actually do not speak to the showroom at all but place their order online with the lease company of choice with the best deal.
Typically, the car is then trailer delivered to the company offices or even the sales rep’s home and the old one removed in similar fashion.
This is as close to click and collect as you can get.
Lockdown introduced motor traders to on-line sales more than ever with British Car Auctions holding trade only ‘buy now’ sales.
The available description and grading system with photography is sufficient for most dealers to take a view, buy, then arrange delivery.
The savings made by not attending every sale more than covers the odd missed scratch.
Of course, no self-respecting seasoned car specialist would contemplate such a thing when it comes to buying a classic car.
After all these things need to have an experienced eye cast over them... Well actually, that is not strictly true.
Yes, I have just bought a 52-year-old pale yellow MGB Roadster at a classic car online auction and I am completely thrilled with it.
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