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Car auction firm holds first online sale amid lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:47 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 20 May 2020

East Anglian Motor Auctions is now driving forward with online sales. Pictured is the firm's managing director Chris Beckett. 
Pic: Archant

East Anglian Motor Auctions is now driving forward with online sales. Pictured is the firm's managing director Chris Beckett. Pic: Archant

The boss of a Norfolk motor auction firm that started in 1946 has been left staggered by the response to its first-ever online sale.

An old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submittedAn old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submitted

Because of coronavirus restrictions Damian Thomas, of East Anglian Motor Auctions in Wymondham, had to change the business model completely.

So for the very first time they held an entire auction online. And it was a hit – 36 out of the 40 vehicles sold and membership soared to more than 300.

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An old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submittedAn old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submitted

Such was the interest from armchair buyers that Mr Thomas said they are seriously rethinking how their firm should operate going forward. With social distancing measures in place, staff were able to cope with the entries into the auction much easier online and he said higher prices were achieved overall.

“We have been selling cars since 1946 and to my knowledge this is the longest we have been without any sales while on lockdown,” he said. “Our salesroom is usually full of customers, some travelling all the way from London to purchase vehicles. But with the power of the internet, we managed to create our first ever online-only sale.

“Since posting an online form last week, we have had more than 300 applications to use our bidding services. Our inspectors in the yard run a 42-point check on each vehicle which goes through the sale, including images and now utilising YouTube to create a video walk round of each vehicle for our customers.”

An old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submittedAn old photo of East Anglian Motor Auctions. Pic: submitted

The firm started from humble beginnings in a marquee at its former Norwich premises in Aylsham Road before moving to its current site.

Mr Thomas added: “The people who registered for the auction were mainly local. The number of people signing up to our website went through the roof. There are definitely pros and cons; having people actually in the saleroom means there is a really good atmosphere but with social distancing making this not possible, we are so pleased at the results from holding the sale online.”

He said one Ford car fetched around £700 more than the guide price.

The firm sells all kinds of vehicles – from budget and part exchange to Aston Martins and Porsches.

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