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Buying or selling a car is always a stressful time. For the buyer, there is the uncertainty of the vehicle itself, along with paying the price you want, but still getting a bargain. Then there are the endless visits, seeing many different vehicles of varying quality. For the seller, there is the cost involved in advertising your car - will there be enough response? Is it reaching a decent coverage area? Is it overpriced? You have to make time to show people around the car, many of whom will be timewasters.
So, how do you select an appropriate medium to sell your vehicle? It really depends on what kind of area you want to reach and how much you want to pay. If you advertise your car nationally, then you stand more chance of finding someone who is interested. However, the travelling distance can pose a problem. The flip side of this, is to advertise locally, where you can be sure that only people within close proximity will see the advert. However, you are reducing the chance of finding an interested buyer.
Regional advertising stands between the two. Auto Trader is one such publication, and is a name that most people are aware of. The advantage of the Auto Trader is that it is a national company, that publishes various regional editions. This enables the seller to reach more readers than their local area paper would attract, whilst ensuring that most readers are within a reasonable travelling distance.
I’m not entirely sure how many different regions there are in the country, but to give you an idea, there are two different editions on sale in my area - these being "East London and Essex", and "Beds, Bucks & Herts". The latter is more on my doorstep although I look in both - recently I have noticed only one edition on sale and suspect that they have combined them.
The Auto Trader contains various sections, which enable the buyer to pin point the type of vehicle they are looking for. These sections include: General cars, sports & performance cars, diesel cars, vans, motorbikes, and even a bargain (under £1000) section, as well as many other categories. The advertisements are a mixture or private and trade, although it should be clearly stated which, at the bottom of the text. All adverts carry a colour photo of the vehicle, which is a fairly recent enhancement, as it used to be a black and white publication with a colour section in the middle. This obviously makes for a more pleasant read and adds to the impact of the vehicle.
There are also various traders operating within the magazine, who take multi-page spreads, full of car listings. In addition to this, there are a number of "service" sections that a potential buyer may find of use. This includes a comprehensive directory of local and national finance and insurance companies, breakers yards, various parts and accessories, as well as private number plates.
For the seller, the Auto Trader makes the process as simple as possible. Firstly, to get a photo of your vehicle in the magazine, you need one of their photographers to come to either your home or place of work, to take a photo of the vehicle and the text of the advert. In each area, they have a number of representatives, each covering different towns within your region. To book them, you simply select the agent who covers your area, and call them on the number listed to book a slot at mutual convenience. I have always found them to be very friendly and helpful, and they can usually get to you within a day or two of calling. If they are not answering their phone, you can also call the office, who will arrange it on your behalf.
Before the photographer arrives, it is best to choose the type of advertisement that you will require along with the text. As previously mentioned, all adverts benefit from a full colour photo for maximum impact. However there are a number of different types of blocks that you can take in the magazine. These obviously vary in size and are dictated by your budget and how much exposure you want your advert to receive. Without listing them all, the lower end of the scale, is a sort of budget place, that gets you a small square photo and a 25 word description. This costs £23 per week, and if you buy 2 weeks, you get a third free. At the other end of the scale, and in my opinion, a bit unjustified, is the Emperor spot (even sounds extravagant!). For this you get a huge photograph, and a whopping 80 word description of the vehicle. At £110 per week, it isn’t hard to see why so few people choose this advert. Considering a weeks advertising in my local newspaper is £50, this makes the Auto Trader a very cost efficient way of reaching a reasonable size audience.
The Auto Trader also have a few other publication mediums that you can benefit from when placing an advert. They own the Top Marques, Bike Trader and Truck Trader magazines. If your advertisement meets certain criteria, then it will also appear in these publications for free. I think that the criteria for the latter two are self explanatory. However for Top Marques, the vehicle must be a prestige, sports or performance model, that costs over £8000. In addition to this, your advert will automatically be loaded on to their very successful website for the duration of publication. This not only enables buyers who don’t buy Auto Trader to view your vehicle, but also opens up the readership to national buyers, who may be prepared to travel.
All in all, I found the Auto Trader experience quite stress free. The vehicle sold before the second week and they refunded the cost for me, which I was quite happy about. The photograph came out clear and the text was exactly as I had requested. They certainly aren’t the only regional publication, but they are definitely one of the most reputable and long standing. At only £1.50 a week, it isn’t too expensive to buy either!
Good review(-: ........................................................Darko
the_mad_cabbie 06.02.2001 13:54
Good op. I had a very positive experience with the "online" version of Autotrader.
Infinity 06.02.2001 01:31
Another excellent op! And in answer to your question about my name: yes. When I signed up Ciao I was looking for inspiration on what to call myself. I looked around my round and saw my speaker box and thought yer, that's it. Oh and BTW following your top opinion on Adrian Flux insurance I submitted a quote on the web site, so fingers crossed! Cheers, Justin.