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A new platform is here that could make buying classic cars much easier, for both sides of the dealer’s desk.
Classic Trade, which launches today (17 June), has been devised by Robert Wittridge and hopes to bring the UK’s best dealers under one virtual roof as an alternative to listing unsold cars for auction. Currently, if a dealer wants to make space in their showroom they will often resort to consigning it, which can be costly and risks not selling.
By listing on Classic Trade, dealers from all over the country will make their cars available to other dealers to source for their customers, giving buyers effectively the chance to purchase from anywhere but still through their usual dealer.
“We’re not in the business of retailing cars and never will be,” explains Wittridge. “We are a trade portal. The dealer can dual-list the vehicle because it will be on our platform, using the existing images and text on their website if they want, while it stays on retail sale in their showroom.
“There’s no risk, no cost. They’ll never miss a retail sale. You could have the perfect car, with everything going for it, the right colour, but for whatever reason it doesn’t get any interest. Perhaps it’s better suited elsewhere. They’ll take it off sale and list it for auction, and lo and behold get a bit of interest. That’s what tends to happen. That problem is solved and gives dealers more control of their stock.”
Buyers, while not allowed on the mobile-device and PC platform usually, will be able to access the hundreds of cars that are listed on the platform while they are in their usual dealer’s showroom, by using Classic Trade’s 'Showroom Mode’. “A consumer can go into their trusted dealer and instead of having 10 or 15 cars available, they have access to hundreds across the UK that the dealer can source,” he says.
“Dealers can search the platform with the customer comparing vehicles with the sensitive information the dealer wouldn’t want the customer to see hidden. They can discuss the price, saying it will be in the region of this, and give them more information.”
Not every dealer will be invited to join the portal, which Wittridge believes has the lowest fee structure around, and Wittridge and his team have declined some interested parties already. Certain criteria need to be met, and there needs to be enough trust in the dealer. A rating system will keep tabs along with account managers, too.
“We want to ensure the dealers have the best experience possible, to know that dealers will be vetted and are selling their own cars too and know the process,” Wittridge explains. “They won’t come and negotiate the price.
"Equally, we want our network to know they can make a decision off the back of a professional and honest review of the vehicle from the trade. That’s who it’s dedicated to, to better support their retail process and customers.”