Buying and selling an MG as lock down starts to unwind
As the C-19 lock down restrictions begin to unwind in cautious and gradual steps so the UK economy can begin functioning again, how will buyers and sellers adapt to the new ways of working and arranging vehicle inspections and test drives prior to a buyer deciding to negotiate and close a successful deal? Here we look at some of the practical steps that we are likely to see.

Auctions are moving online
Popular classic car auctions are held by ACA near Kings Lynn and they, like many other auctions, are moving online. They have had to adapt rapidly to the changed conditions with the C-19 restrictions. ACA have videos of the cars listed for auction and run their auction so you can watch from home via live video link. There you can hear and see the cars started-up and driven through in front of the rostrum to be offered by resident auctioneer, Jim Ronan. You can participate by telephone, online and through commission bidding. Inspecting the cars by viewing under strict guidelines is allowed. Contact ACA for details of their opening days and times.

Next ACA auction is on 20th June 2020. ACA website

See our updated MGV8 market review and price guide released on 1st May 2020. More
Posted: 200519

Update: 200525
The Prime Minister announced on 25th May that "all non-essential retailers will be able to reopen in England from 15th June 2020. However, the move is "contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus", and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, the PM added.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1st June. New guidance was being published for the retail sector "detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards". Boris Johnson added "Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen. This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take".
BBC News report



Specialist traders
Buying and selling a classic MG at this time
Most specialist classic car traders have seen their business almost halted during the C-19 lock down and in most cases they have closed their showrooms but from new guidelines announced by the UK Government on Monday 11th May 2020 it looks as if car traders will be among the first wave of non-essential businesses to open in June. The indications are that all traders and dealerships will face a Government inspection to prove each showroom is safe and will have new measures to allow for social distancing before being allowed to open their doors to customers.

Many specialist MG traders are making plans for getting their businesses going again but with careful arrangements to comply with necessary public health concerns and requirements. Those new measures will typically involve potential buyers having to arrange a one-to-one appointment with the trader to view and inspect a car for sale in their showroom. Traders will need to have hand sanitisers for customers who will only be allowed to enter the premises one at a time. A strict regime of wiping down car keys, steering wheels and all other contact areas on a car with sanitiser gels before and after a viewing by a customer will need to be followed carefully.

Potential classic car buyers have been not been permitted during lock down to travel to a specialist trader's premises to view cars and clearly trying to buy a classic car on the basis of photos, maybe with a video tour round and in a car provided by a seller, and a description of the condition and provenance of a car provided by a seller has been a difficult and an unwise way of buying a car. There are reports of some traders adopting ways of overcoming those difficulties in a few cases by taking cars to serious buyers but stretching the C-19 constraints in force at that time. Following the recent UK Government announcement, travel for exercise has been made easier so we may see more potential buyers travelling to view cars advertised for sale - whether they will be wearing their country walking gear is uncertain and remains to be seen!

Classic car owners advertising their car for sale to potential buyers will need to be prepared for buyers wanting to travel to their home to view and inspect the car. Those viewings will be made by appointment and the seller will need to follow similar guidelines to traders by allowing only one person to enter their property at a time together a strict regime of wiping down car keys, steering wheels and all other contact areas on a car with sanitiser gels before and after a viewing by a potential buyer.

How do you handle test driving? That is the key challenge for sellers, both private sellers and for specialist traders. The UK Government guidelines indicate people from different households should not travel in a vehicle together but allowing a potential buyer to test drive a car alone without the seller as the passenger runs the risk the test driver may simply drive the vehicle away! That has happened in times when there were no health problems, so unaccompanied test driving it is a real risk for a seller. Judging how reliable and trustworthy a stranger who arrives by appointment to view a car will be is not easy to do with any certainty. One precaution would be for a seller to ensure they have the true name and home address of the potential buyer and a copy of at least one form of identity like a driving licence and as security also hold their keys to the car they have used to travel to the viewing.

How might the C-19 lock down and gradual release periods affect the classic car market?
With the current Government restrictions on unnecessary travel one might have expected a logical step for existing advertisers or those wishing the sell an MGV8 might be to postpone advertising their car, but it appears some sellers are not inclined to postpone launching a sale of their MGV8 at clearly what is a difficult time. It's likely that some of the offers seen (both new offers since mid-March 2020 and continued offers launched earlier) might be where an owner has a pressing need to sell their MGV8 to release cash to cover the loss of their employment, to provide cash for family members or to help meet cash needs for their business struggling with C-19 effects and an economic downturn.

For some potential buyers the motivation could be that their wish to get an MGV8 has increased during lock down and now they may feel it could be a good time to buy a classic car. For some people with little disruption to their income during lock down (people with steady pensions or salaries) and with their expenses and discretionary spending during lock down very much reduced, their bank balance has benefitted accordingly. So they have ended up in a position stuck at home in the lock down beginning to think buying a classic car is now more affordable. That buying interest might make a significant contribution to the demand side of the MGV8 market now and in the coming months. The next 6 and 12 months will certainly be an interesting time for the classic car market.