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Sell my car to a dealer

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Sell my car to a dealer

When selling a car, the first option that comes to mind for many is to sell to a car dealer. Dealers have been the traditional, go-to route to sale for motorists across the UK since the dawn of the combustion engine. As long as there’s been used cars on the road, there’s been car dealers and dealerships ready to buy them. Buying cars from the public is appealing for dealers as they can often secure a car sale in the process if it’s a part exchange. Selling to a dealer usually takes the form of a trade-in for another car, but it can also be a direct sale for cash. For the seller, finding a dealer who can offer a good price can often be a time-intensive process – owners often have to drive to many different dealers to find the right offer and it does not always result in a great deal.

In 2020, selling to a dealer is only one option amongst many. There are now numerous online and offline services offering to help you sell your car. Firstly, there are instant online car buying companies like The Car Buying Group, Arnold Clark, Evans Halshaw and WeBuyAnyCar* (not on Motorway) who will buy any car fast after an initial online valuation and a visit to a drop off centre. There are also big classified sites like eBay, Gumtree and AutoTrader to name a few. These companies will allow you to create an advert for your car and sell it privately or to an interested professional buyer. So with all these options available, is selling to a local independent dealer still a viable route to sale? The short answer is ‘yes’, but whether or not you choose to sell to a dealer of any kind will depend on a number of factors. 

At Motorway you can compare offers from a number of different buyers. We work with specialist car dealers and instant car buyers that will purchase any car, often within 24 hours. It’s simple to compare offers for your car in seconds and sell fast after a free online valuation. 

*WeBuyAnyCar.com are not a commercial partner of Motorway.

Sell my car to a dealer

How do I sell to a dealer?

Once you have reviewed all of your selling options, you may in fact decide that selling to a dealer is your best route. If this is the case, then we can help. We work with a UK-wide network of specialist car dealers who buy cars from sellers on Motorway via our Premium Service. The process is simple, and you can start by valuing your car here. You will then be given a list of offers from online car buyers and dealers. If your car is eligible for our Premium Service, you can create a profile for your car and find the highest price from our network. If you choose to proceed with the highest offer we can find, the sale can then progress. A specialist dealer will come to collect the car and you’ll be paid the same day. It’s quick and simple, and can mean more money than selling to an instant online car buyer.

If this isn’t for you and you would like to sell to a local independent or franchised dealer the traditional way (outside of Motorway), then a good place to start would be with a Google search. A quick search for ‘car dealer near me’ should produce thousands of results, featuring many dealers who will buy your car. Using Google’s Maps tool, you can quickly find the most reputable dealers near to your location. Reading reviews should also help you to quickly decipher which ones to avoid.

Once you have found a suitable dealer – perhaps one that specialises in your brand – it’s always worth giving them a call to discuss a sale. Some dealers may be looking for the exact make and model of your car which, if you are lucky, could mean more money for you than a private sale. It’s always worth seeking out dealers that specialise in your car’s make as they often will be able to provide a better price. 

Once you have found an interested dealer, you will likely need to drive your car over for a closer inspection and a finalised offer. Remember, it’s always good to negotiate as most dealers can flex their purchasing budgets if they really want your car.

How do I sell to a dealer?

How to choose a car dealer

Without any prior experience, choosing the right car dealer can be a tricky business and there are many factors to consider before proceeding with a sale. Car’s are complicated pieces of machinery with many potential points of failure, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve done your research and understand the value of your car before heading to a buying dealership. You should ask yourself a few questions before proceeding.

How do you find a car dealer who will buy fairly? How do you know that the price they are offering is competitive? And will the price be better than selling to an instant buyer? Well to start, we’d recommend carrying out a few online valuations to get a ballpark figure of what your car may be worth. You can value your car at Motorway, but other platforms such as Parkers, AutoTrader and WhatCar? also offer free online valuation tools. Don’t count on any one price you receive from these places – we highly recommend you take these valuations as ‘caveated estimates’.  No single online valuation will be able to give you a fully accurate buying offer as they are just tools that have their own assumptions (most detail them). It’s worth getting as many online valuations as possible to get a range of prices, and then read all the information provided with the price. This will allow you to have a more realistic expectation from a dealer.

Once you have a good idea of the value of your car, you can start getting in touch with car dealers to see if they are interested in buying your car. Remember to always be honest about the car’s history and condition as an unmentioned issue can dramatically affect the final offer you receive when it comes to light. Another tip is to always speak to a dealer that specialises in your car’s brand. If you own a Peugeot for example, a Peugeot dealer is more likely to be interested in your car than a Ford dealership, and they often offer more because of that. And finally, always make sure to read reviews on Trustpilot and Google to make sure a dealer is reputable and trustworthy.

How to choose a car dealer

Tips for selling to a dealer

Before you hop into your car for the last time and drive it to your local dealer for the sale, make sure you follow these top tips for selling to a dealer. Firstly, know your car’s value – it’s worth repeating! As discussed previously, make sure you do a number of online valuations to make sure you have a ballpark figure to aim for once you arrive at the dealer’s forecourt. Secondly, be ready to negotiate – there is no fixed figure that the dealer ‘should’ pay for your car, it is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. The particular dealer you have chosen may be in the market for your exact car and you could be lucky, but equally, you may be offered a low offer. In this instance, you can ‘haggle’ your way up on price. Come armed with information on the day of sale with values you’ve been given online. Car dealers will have years of experience negotiating with sellers, so be clear with what you want and why.

Tip number three: go to a dealer that specialises in your make and model. If you have a Fiat, car dealers that specialise in Fiat will be much more likely to be able to give you a great price than a car dealer that specialises in Mercedes. This is because it will be much easier for them to sell on via their own forecourt or branch network. Ford dealers have numerous buyers looking to buy used Fords coming in to their dealership every day. It’s the opposite for a Mercedes dealer. They will more than likely offer to buy your Ford only because they want you to purchase a new Mercedes at their dealership. It will be difficult for them to sell your Fiat at a good price themselves and it will take time to recoup the outlay. For this reason they’ll often offer a lower price just to compensate for the time and effort it will take to sell it. 

Tip four: make sure your car is as tidy and clean as possible! Remove all those old coffee cups, chocolate wrappers, empty bottles and crisp packets and make sure your car is clean and looking great. Remember, many dealers may look to offer you a lower price than you expect. Don’t make this easy for them with a messy interior with rubbish everywhere. Get the vacuum cleaner out and give your beloved car a final deep clean – make it look like you’ve really looked after it during its lifetime! 

Finally, make sure to bring all the relevant documents and accessories. This includes the keys, the V5C, logbook, service history, MOT certificates, the wheel locking bolt, insurance records, parts and other receipts. We cover this topic in detail in our ultimate guide to documents you need when selling a car and explore more tips here.

Tips for selling to a dealer

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