Car sellers expand popular auction site

SUCCESSFUL: Paul Kourelias and chairman John Bond-Smith on the expanding site of West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions

SUCCESSFUL: Paul Kourelias and chairman John Bond-Smith on the expanding site of West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions

First published in Business The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

A motor auction business is undergoing a major expansion and taking on new staff after outgrowing its current premises.

Bosses at the West Oxfordshire Motor Auction on the Bromag Industrial Estate in Witney have pumped £750,000 into buying a 1.1 acre site across Downs Road from its premises and built a floodlit car park for 160 cars.

Managing director Paul Kourellias said: “As the business has grown, the customer parking has diminished and there has been an issue with it when we hold auctions.

“We now sell up to 300 cars a week at our auctions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with the average price being between £2,000 and £3,000 – which compares well with the market place as a whole.”

Three more staff are being employed at the business bringing the total workforce to 17.

Mr Kourellias added that the firm, founded by himself and his stepfather John Bond-Smith 26 years ago, had flourished during the recent double dip recession.

He said: “People are not rushing to buy brand new cars and quality used models are selling very well.

“The other great attraction for both buyers and sellers is the sheer speed at which the business is completed.” Mr Kourellias would not be drawn on current turnover except to say that it had “increased significantly” since 2006, when the company reported turnover of £18m.

The auction firm sources its vehicles from dealers and other suppliers including local authorities and police forces across the UK. Recent lots have included a fire engine and a Range Rover used by the Royalty Protection branch of the Metropolitan Police.

The cheapest vehicle ever sold was just 50p – a 15 year-old Vauxhall Nova – while the most expensive was a rubbish lorry that sold to a London Borough Council for £51,000. The new car park, expected to open in February, will also store auction cars securely.

Jon Silversides, senior associate, at property agent Carter Jonas which brokered the deal, said: “The site offers local businesses the ability to construct their own facilities in a market otherwise dominated by a few institutional landlords.”

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