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When the going gets tough … the tough get going

The Covid pandemic turned lives upside down and threatened the viability of key elements of the motor industry.

Car auction houses, which relied on traders and the general public turning up in large numbers to inspect engines, upholstery and paintwork, stood on the brink of a catastrophe.

But one company took the opportunity to explore the online possibilities and re-position itself as THE place to get the widest choice of cars and the best deals available.

Eastbourne Car Auctions looked at the differences between online and face-to-face. It established where the gaps were and then set about finding workable alternatives to ensure the show would go on.

Today, some 14 months after the first lock-down, Eastbourne Car Auctions has ridden the storm and emerged as an even stronger player in the market, with a raft of new services that are proving game-changers for an auction house.

The enhanced offer now allows traders to:

• join time-limited and buy-it-now sales

• take out an industry-leading warranty on their purchases

• take advantage of new vehicle finance options

• download Your4Court app to promote cars on the forecourt AND offer them for immediate sale through Eastbourne Car Auctions … the best of both worlds

In a further attempt to offer the trader a comprehensive package for the entire sales process, the auction house now offers collection and delivery, a car storage facility and professional vehicle inspections and a UK-recognised grading system for every car.

And as the country blinks its eyes and emerges from lockdown, the Eastbourne auction house has re-started in-person auctions for traders. Unlike its two main competitors, it now offers the best of both worlds for traders.

Jon Mitchell, owner and managing director of Eastbourne Car auctions (ECA), said Covid had prompted a long, hard look at the operation.

“The pandemic took the whole world by surprise, us included,” Jon explained. “We took a hard look at our current business operation and quickly identified how we could run an online version to keep our traders happy.

“We moved heaven and earth to keep the operation – and our most important asset, our dedicated team – running smoothly,” Jon continued. “We spoke to IT and digital experts to adapt and revolutionise our offer. We overhauled our website and eventually had an online auction offer that was fit for purpose and that we were proud of.”

The market for second-hand cars through auction remains very strong and Jon and his team have been able to capitalise on it.

“We feared the worst when Covid struck, but we have actually come out of it a leaner, fitter and even more customer-focused business,” Jon said. “We’ve added a significant number of new services to our portfolio and I am delighted with how we are currently trading.”

The complete range of services now includes:

Timed Sales

A vehicle is on sale for a set period of time. When the clock stops, the highest bid wins. Bit like a 4-wheeled version of eBay!


Warranty on any car through Autogroup. This is a first for the trade. It means that a trader can buy a car at auction and get a warranty. The warranty can be for a car up to 150,000 miles on the clock or up to 15 years old.

The warranty can be sold on to the private buyer, thus giving peace of mind. The warranty can be bought to last months or years.

Vehicle Finance

ECA now offers vehicle finance through V12. This ensures dealers and their customers can purchase and finance vehicles how, when and where they want. ECA also offers finance through Next Gear Capital.

Collection and Delivery

ECA now has two 6-car lorries and can deliver cars purchased at the auction anywhere in the UK. It can also organise cars to be transported from one dealer to another.

Car storage Facility

ECA now has off-site secure storage for up to 600 vehicles. It currently stores cars for six of its auction partners.

Vehicle Inspections

Using the National Association of Motor Auctioneers, every vehicle coming to auction is graded from 1-5.  


ECA has teamed up with local online motor trade developer Alan Stuart to download an app that allows franchised dealers to add cars to the ECA Buy It Now section on its website.

A dealer can continue to promote cars on the forecourt, but also offer them for sale through the ECA Buy It Now service. And as cars reach their 90-day sale deadline, a dealer can reduce the price of the car on the app at the press of a button. The app is visible to the dealer, NOT the private buyer.

Discover more about Eastbourne Car Auctions here.