Bid for a bar­gain

If you’re ready to do your re­search and buy on the spot, there are tasty deals on re­pos­sessed or ex-fleet cars

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - COVER STORY - BILL McKIN­NON bill.mckin­

PSSST. Wanna save big money on a late model used car? Say, $90,000?

Give or take a few thou­sand dol­lars, that’s how much one as­tute buyer saved on a 2015 Fer­rari F12 berlinetta, with 11,000km on the clock, bought at a re­cent Pick­les lux­ury car auc­tion in Syd­ney for $530,000.

At a dealer, the same car would cost about $620,000 ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try pric­ing guide­books. New, the F12 is the prici­est Fezza of them all, at $690,745 plus on-roads.

It’s not just su­per­car shop­pers who can save se­ri­ous cash buy­ing at auc­tion.

Pick­les auc­tion­eer and val­uer Ge­orge Abounader also puts thou­sands of Corol­las, Cam­rys, Com­modores, Hyundais and HiLuxes un­der the ham­mer each year on be­half of lo­cal coun­cils, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, fi­nance and leas­ing com­pa­nies.

These cars are typ­i­cally base or mid-spec au­to­mat­ics, two to four years old, with reg­is­tra­tion and of­ten rel­a­tively low kilo­me­tres (20,000-50,000). The sav­ings can be sub­stan­tial com­pared with buy­ing the same ve­hi­cle from a dealer.

all, deal­ers buy stock at auc­tions too. The same cars end up on used car lots with a markup of sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars.

Let’s take a hy­po­thet­i­cal guide­book ex­am­ple, the ubiq­ui­tous Toy­ota Camry Al­tise. White, of course. A 2014 model with 30,000km will cost you $19,000-$20,000 at a dealer. The same car at auc­tion will fetch $15,000-$16,000.

A 2014 VF Holden Calais 3.6-litre V6, per­haps the exAfter may­oral char­iot, with the same kilo­me­tres is worth about $30,000 at a dealer; at auc­tion, it’s about $25,000.

“Buy­ing at auc­tion, you can save thou­sands of dol­lars on these types of cars,” Abounader says. “Most will have a few bumps and bruises, but fleet and gov­ern­ment cars usu­ally have a log­book, which will tell you who owned the car, and ser­vice records. If the car still has some man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty left on it, that’s trans­fer­able to you as the new owner.”

Pick­les puts a list of cars at each of its auc­tions on­line at pick­ in the week lead­ing up to the auc­tion. There are pho­tos of each car, de­tails such as kilo­me­tres trav­elled, and a con­di­tion re­port, which is ba­si­cally a walk-around that iden­ti­fies bat­tle scars such as dings, chips and scrapes.

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