Bargain hunters geared up for top car auction
IT is the auction of cars the recession left behind.
Everything from a Range Rover beloved of ladies who lunch to a stretch limo complete with DVD player and wine bar will come under the hammer today in a sale of repossessed vehicles.
Drivers hoping to secure a bargain on a second-hand motor have been told they can expect savings of about a third on the large selection of vehicles which make up the first major liquidation auction of 2010.
Some 2,500 people are expected to flood into Merlin Car Auctions in Naas, Co Kildare, for the sale of vehicles which have been repossessed from garages and individuals who have fallen into dire financial straits.
Among the cars which will be bid on are two stretch limos imported from the United States and a lurid orange 'boy-racer' Ford Focus which has seats valued at some €3,000.
This is the third liquidation auction which Merlin Car Auctions has staged in the last two months, illustrating the large number of vehicles being taken over by finance houses as businesses and individuals fall foul of the recession. Managing director David Byrne said there were 1,400 business unable to pay their debts in 2009, which means insolvency firms now have vehicles to sell on to try and secure the maximum amount from the assets.
Over two out of every three people who attend today's sale are expected to be punters looking for a value buy while the rest will be motor dealers, he said, illustrating that people are still willing to spend.
"People still have money. There is a perception out there that where there is value to be obtained, people will find it," Mr Byrne said.
"People are looking harder now. I think we became lazy as a society. It was easy to stay in a top hotel, it was easy to just nip into the dealer next door. Now people travel for value."
Similar sales last year saw a 2003 Ferrari F360 sell for €85,000, a significant drop in price from the usual €160,000.
A 2007 Bentley Continental GTC, dubbed the dream car of a Premiership footballer, went under the hammer for €140,000, well down from an actual value of €235,000.
The first sale of 2010 has a more "bread-and-butter" selection of vehicles although there are some high-profile ones, including an E-Class Mercedes which is expected to sell for €20,000.
A similar vehicle on the forecourt will set you back €35,000, said Mr Byrne.