Driving a hard bargain as repo cars go under the hammer

Newsroom 30/11/2009 | 00:00

A Skoda Fabia Avantaj going for about EUR 4,700, a EUR 13,500 VW Touareg, both produced in 2006, and a EUR 6,200 Ssangyong Rexton from 2004 are just three of the 147 cars, trucks and pieces of equipment that Marfin Leasing auctioned last Wednesday. But despite the fact that these cars are competitively priced, no individual or company snapped them up. Faced with this dismal situation, the leasing company announced that it would have to be more flexible in how it went about trying to offload these repossessed vehicles. “The auction ended on November 25. There will probably be another one in about two months, but in the meantime, those interested can fax us an offer for a particular car using the list and auction prices. The company will analyze the offer. List prices are the minimum figures set by the company prior to the auction,” Catalin Ben, a member of the auction committee representing Marfin Leasing, told Business Review. “During this auction session no BMW or Ssangyong cars on our list were sold. Potential buyers limited themselves to asking questions.”Marfin Leasing isn’t the only company in this situation. Since the beginning of the year financial leasing companies have had to repossess a wave of goods, especially cars, which are now sitting in parking lots throughout the country, awaiting buyers. “Cars are prevalent in the supply of goods recovered by leasing companies. In general, the buyers who could not meet their repayments are the SMEs,” said Claudiu Stanescu, GM of BCR Leasing, one of the firms that have set up a specialized website for the resale of repossessed cars. Many leasing companies have done the same. There are no official statistics on the total number of repossessed cars, but market players reckon it’s about 10,000 units. To sell these cars and thereby be free of the expenses of running the car lots, market players say that many leasing companies are offering discounts to anyone who buys a 50-unit package. Razvan Diaconescu, Impuls Leasing’s GM, says that the average price of a repossessed car has decreased by about 35 percent over last year, which is why leasing companies often sell these recovered vehicles at a loss. Other financial leasing companies told BR that their strategy was to sell the repossessed automobiles through their dealer networks. “All recovered cars are sold through our authorized VW, Skoda, SEAT, Audi and Porsche dealer network. In this way, customers have access to attractive offers directly from the showroom in the city where they live or online, by accessing our website. The Weltauto brand, created to represent the sale of used cars, offers customers the opportunity to buy good cars at reasonable prices, depending on the car brand, specifications and number of miles on the clock,” Kurt Leitner, CEO at Porsche Finance Group Romania, told BR. He added that almost all the financing products offered by the company are available for both new and second-hand models. “The concept of a one-stop-shop that works in the national network of 89 dealers is available for used cars as well, which is our main advantage. So drivers have everything at hand, with a single visit to one of the dealers of VW, Skoda, SEAT, Audi or Porsche.” 

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