The Aston Man reflects on Buying or Selling an Aston Martin

Back in 1985 when I was involved in buying what was my first Aston Martin, it was passion and enthusiasm that drove the market – prices were reasonable, whisper it quietly, there were bargains to be had but decisions about the best place to buy or sell an Aston was not critical.

But in the heady days of the late eighties, Aston Martin prices, like property and share prices, rose and rose – and like their counterparts in bricks and mortar and those in the stock markets, they fell.

It proved a very sharp financial lesson for me, and whilst recovering from those harsh times, I spoke to owners and enthusiasts who had suffered – not just in the re-valuation of their cars – but some had lost their entire inventory where dealers, contracted to market their cars had gone into liquidation. And subsequently I saw even great auction houses fall under the same insolvency – that is not to attach blame to those businesses who fail, but to reflect on the lessons and guard against repetition.

So I developed the brokerage business as it stands today – we ask customers to store their car in a secure facility to their own order and at their own cost. Some people question this charge – in the context of the value of the car and, if you do the sums, in the context of overall charges by other market routes, it is extraordinary value. But its greatest value is the peace of mind that your asset, and nowadays, it is a substantial one, remains in your control.

But why Byron International – its very simple, 30 years of specialisation in a product means that we are in touch with the market in a much greater sense than someone who presents themselves as an expert across all the marques. Click on any advertising website and just count the different makes in the classic car market, you cannot be an expert in all of them – if you visit our website, www.allastonmartin.com you will find details of just one make. But not just the cars we have for sale, our archive demonstrates our history and how many Aston Martins we have sold, valued or advised upon. We have product overviews that tell you about the history of Aston Martin and illustrated by cars we have dealt with.

That website of ours gets around 5,000 individual visitors a month and that is the number of people who will see your car, if you ask us to sell it – and we don’t just give prospective buyers the basics, each car is professionally photographed, its history collated and recorded and its story told. We build value into every line. And we don’t just rely on our own site – we advertise in the best known sites around the world and support that with advertising in specialist magazines.

The Aston Martin market is International, at Techno Classica in Essen this year, I had the pleasure of the President of FIVA coming onto our stand and renewing an acquaintance that went back 26 years to when he bought his car from my brokerage.

Yes, if you study the published rates of every major auction house, the return from our brokerage is better than all of them – but people don’t choose us for price, it is because when you add up the knowledge, the experience and the longevity of the business it establishes an inescapable logic of choice – for Aston Martin, it must be Byron International.

Selling your Aston Martin

Making the decision to sell your Aston Martin is difficult enough, but not as difficult as the sales process. At Byron International, we are in our third decade of helping members of the Aston Martin owners club and other Aston Martin owners by acting as brokers on the sale of their cars.

Best Price

Once you have decided to sell, then we take away all the problems of dealing with what can be an Internationally traded product. That’s important because currency exchange and import duty can affect the perceived price of your car and our understanding of those differences means that you will get the best price for your car.

Trust

The car remains under your control in a secure store while we advertise the car and deal with prospective buyers. And we work only for you – unlike an auction sale, there is only one commission. Nor are we a dealer using your car to boost our stock on sale or return, we only sell our clients’ cars. We raise a sale / purchase agreement between the buyer and seller so you know exactly what your car has sold for.

 

No Risk

We have taken all the risk out of the process for you – if we demonstrate a car, it is comprehensively insured by us for the duration of that demonstration – the car is only released to a new owner when cleared funds are in YOUR bank account. Remember, most auction houses only pay out a month after the car is sold.

The Detail

Whether a car needs to be checked with a specialist, if the car needs financing, if it needs shipping from one part of the world to another, we take care of all the detail and negotiation.

Like the owners, we are passionate about Aston Martins, but we have created a process – almost clinical in its efficiency – to ensure that you have no problems with the sale of your car.

Sometimes, making the decision to sell your Aston Martin is not easy, particularly if it has a long association with your family. Then there is the question of how, when and where will I achieve the best return for such a very valuable and internationally traded asset whilst protecting it. At Byron International, we understand these emotional and practical concerns. We are in our third decade of helping Aston Martin owners and in particular members of the A.M.O.C. (Aston Martin Owners Club) by acting as brokers in the sale of their cars.

Please visit our Archives where you will find many Astons we have sold or valued over the years.

But before you commit to using our services, you may have questions – we have a number of the most frequently asked questions, but if there is something we haven’t covered, just email sales@allastonmartin.com.


How do you establish the asking price for my car?

Call us and describe your Aston Martin. Based on your description, our sales of the same model and knowledge of others available, we will estimate its market value. If you are happy with our estimate and the car is located in Europe, we will follow up with a personal visit to view your car and agree a price. We will also visit other countries if it is a significant or high value car.


What happens when you sell my Aston Martin?

When a transaction is agreed by you we raise a sales / purchase agreement between the seller and the buyer who makes direct payment to the seller. The exceptions are when either seller or buyer, require anonymity and when the buyer requires finance because as Licensed Credit Brokers we usually have to invoice the finance company. The car is only released to a new owner when cleared funds are in your bank account.


What about insurance when my Aston Martin is being driven?

When a representative of Byron International is driving your car or accompanying a prospective buyer on demonstration, your car is fully comprehensively covered under our insurance with Aon. A copy of our Insurance Certificate is available on request.


How will my Aston Martin be presented?

Aston Martin key fob

We will compile an extensive written presentation about your Aston Martin that details fitted options, upgrades and enhancements. With your permission we will also include ownership history, concours achievements, race or rally results, restoration, service, and maintenance invoices plus MOT history. In short we will draw out all the selling aspects of your car. All documentation is date collated and displayed in a leather bound folder which is shown to all prospective buyers that view your car. In addition, your car will be extensively photographed and when appropriate in a studio by a Professional Photographer.

This combination will form the foundation of our presentation.


How will my Aston Martin be promoted?

  • After preparation, the car will be professionally photographed ensuring a professional presentation for use in all media.
  • The history of the car will be carefully collated and recorded as part of a presentation that will be used in marketing the vehicle. Additionally, the history will be presented in a leather bound folder.
  • We will promote the car on our own website, www.allastonmartin.com
  • In addition, we advertise in significant relevant automotive websites in mainland Europe, USA as well as the UK.
  • We advertise in various specialist magazines and a selection of our past adverts can be viewed in the Archive section of our website
  • By telephone, email or letter to recent enquiries for your model Aston Martin that we have recorded in our extensive database.

Where will my Aston Martin be kept?

Your car will be held to your order at Bullbridge Storage - www.bullbridgestorage.co.uk.

This means you remain in control of your asset yet enables us to show your car to a prospective buyer. All of the Astons we are representing are located in one area, which as you can imagine is impressive.

Aston Martins in storageBullbridge storage

The store was purpose built in 2005 so it is in first class condition.

It is ideally located for visitors being just 40 minutes from Gatwick Airport and just over an hour from London Victoria by train or from the Channel Tunnel by car. The local roads are not as congested as London and therefore make them ideal for demonstrating your car. It may also be possible for you to achieve a saving on insurance by reducing cover to ‘laid- up’ status.


What do you offer that I cannot or may not be able to offer?

  • A long established reputation and trusted forum for business to take place easily.
  • A data base of current prospective buyers.
  • Confidence in debating values based on experience.
  • Comprehensive insurance cover during demonstration.
  • Finance for buyers.
  • Information for buyers, Shipping, Insurance
  • Up to the minute experience of how a change in currency exchange rates is influencing overseas buyers.

How different country import regulations can work in your favour. For instance, some Aston Martin models can be imported to the U.K. under the historic car scheme which means they only attract 5% VAT not the standard rate. And the picture overseas is constantly changing – New Zealand recently changed from an import duty to charging GST on a car. In Hong Kong, there is no import duty but 100% tax when you register the car. We keep on top of these facts so you don't need to.


What will it cost me?

Your car will be held to your order at Bullbridge Storage - www.bullbridgestorage.co.uk

This means you remain in control of your asset yet enables us to show your car to a prospective buyer. All of the Astons we are representing are located in one area, which adds to the buying experience and emphasises the specialisation of the brokerage.


Commission

There is a commission charge which is 10% of the sale price achieved for the car, VAT is chargeable on all invoices. We only receive a payment from one party in any transaction.

The cost of storage

This varies dependant on value. It is from £28.00 per week plus VAT and includes a battery conditioner.


How does that compare with an auction or a dealer?

Byron International Brokerage

  • Professional photography of every car included in the marketing proposition, at no charge, presenting your car in the best possible light.
  • Full collation of all vehicle history and presentation in a leather bound folder and fully summarised in marketing presentation.
  • 30 years of specialist Aston Martin knowledge.
  • Continuous marketing of car until sold with multiple access opportunities for prospective buyers.
  • You retain control of your asset at all time.
  • Focussed only on client cars charging only a sellers commission.
  • Immediate settlement of sale revenue prior to release of car.
  • Clear terms of agreement with just 30 days notice on either side.
  • Auction companies Charge up to £1,000 for catalogue presentation and photography.
  • History précis offered in catalogue, no collation or specialist presentation of history.
  • Offer only one specialist Aston Martin auction in the current calendar so for most auctions, you don’t know whether they will attract the best buyer or a bargain hunter.
  • Marketing of the auction and inclusion of your car in the inventory with limited access to prospective buyers.
  • The auction company take control of your asset – if they sell the car, then they take up to 21 days to pay you but, if there is no sale, they require you to remove the car within 24 hours or pay storage.
  • Charge commission to seller and buyer and court the favour of both parties.
  • Credit terms mean payment of sales revenues up to 21 days after sale and there is history of an auction house failing and sellers losing their car and their revenues and the auction house rising like a phoenix to continue trading – not so much caveat emptor more caveat venditor – let the seller beware.
  • Commit you to onerous terms of agreement – for example there is an auction company who will retain the sole right to sell your car for 45 days after a failure to sell at auction.

Auction House Charges - May 2015

Artcurial

Sales Commission Charges - Up to €100,000 10% €100,000 - €500,000 8% €500,000 - €1 m 6% over €1m subject to discussion

Source of Information - email confirmation from MD of Artcurial

Buyer's Premium - €1-600,000 @ 16% €600,001 + 12% subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - email confirmation from MD of Artcurial

Barons

Sales Commission Charges - 5% of sale price, Minimum £150 - entry fee standard at £120, premium entry £150 subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - Barons website

Buyer's Premium - 10% of sale price subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - Barons website

Bonhams

Sales Commission Charges - Catalogue fee of £150 - £500 plus 10% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Copy of Bonhams entry form 2014.

Buyer's Premium - 15% on first £50,000 12% on £50,001+ subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - Bonhams catalogue

Brightwells

Sales Commission Charges - £150 entry fee and 5% of the sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Brightwells website

Buyer's Premium - 10% of sale price subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - Brightwells website

Coys

Sales Commission Charges - Cataloguing fee of £350 plus Seller's commission of 15% on first £30,000 (€50,000) and 10% on £30,001 + (€50,001 +) subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Coys website

Buyer's Premium - Buyer's Premium of 15% on first £30,000 (€50,000) and then 10% of £30,001 + (€50,001 +) subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Coys website

H&H

Sales Commission Charges - Entry fee: Standard £100; Premium: £200 Deluxe: £400 plus 5% of selling price subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - H&H website

Buyer's Premium - 12% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - H&H website

Historics

Sales Commission Charges - Entry fee of £150 plus 10% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Historics website

Buyer's Premium - 10% of sale price plus extra 1% for online bid subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Historics website

Mecum

Sales Commission Charges - Entry fee:$500 - $1,500 plus 8% of hammer price with a reserve, 5% of hammer price without reserve. Local taxes apply

Source of Information - Mecum website

Buyer's Premium - Bidder fee of $100 - $500 then Buyers Premium of 8% of hammer price. Local taxes apply

Source of Information - Mecum website

RM

Sales Commission Charges - Seller's commission of 10% of hammer price, Local taxes apply

Source of Information - RM Electronic Catalogue

Buyer's Premium - Buyer's Premium of 12% on hammer price. Local taxes apply

Source of Information - RM Electronic Catalogue

Silverstone Auctions

Sales Commission Charges - £250 entry fee plus 5% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate

Source of Information - Silverstone Auctions website

Buyer's Premium - Buyer's Premium of 12.5% of hammer price subject to VAT at standard rate

Source of Information - Silverstone Auctions website

Auction HouseSales Commission ChargesSource of InformationBuyer's PremiumSource of Information
Artcurial up to €100,000 10% €100,000 - €500,000 8%€500,000 - €1 m 6% over €1m subject to discussion email confirmation from MD of Artcurial €1-600,000 @ 16% €600,001 + 12% subject to VAT at standard rate email confirmation from MD of Artcurial
Barons 5% of sale price, Minimum £150 - entry fee standard at £120, premium entry £150 subject to VAT at standard rate Barons Website 10% of sale price subject to VAT at standard rate Barons website
Bonhams Catalogue fee of £150 - £500 plus 10% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate Copy of Bonhams entry form 2014. 15% on first £50,000 12% on £50,001+ subject to VAT at standard rate Bonhams catalogue
Brightwells £150 entry fee and 5% of the sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate Brightwells website 10% of sale price subject to VAT at standard rate Brightwells website
Coys Cataloguing fee of £350 plus Seller's commission of 15% on first £30,000 (€50,000) and 10% on £30,001 + (€50,001 +) subject to VAT at the standard rate Coys website Buyer's Premium of 15% on first £30,000 (€50,000) and then 10% of £30,001 + (€50,001 +) subject to VAT at the standard rate Coys website
H & H Entry fee: Standard £100; Premium: £200 Deluxe: £400 plus 5% of selling price subject to VAT at standard rate H & H website 12% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate H & H website
Historics Entry fee of £150 plus 10% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate Historics website 10% of sale price plus extra 1% for online bid subject to VAT at the standard rate Historics website
Mecum Entry fee:$500 - $1,500 plus 8% of hammer price with a reserve, 5% of hammer price without reserve. Local taxes apply Mecum website Bidder fee of $100 - $500 then Buyers Premium of 8% of hammer price. Local taxes apply Mecum website
RM Seller's commission of 10% of hammer price, Local taxes apply RM Electronic Catalogue Buyer's Premium of 12% on hammer price. Local taxes apply RM Electronic Catalogue
Silverstone Auctions £250 entry fee plus 5% of sale price subject to VAT at the standard rate Silverstone Auctions website Buyer's Premium of 12.5% of hammer price subject to VAT at standard rate Silverstone Auctions website

Click here for details of current Auction House charges (correct as at May 2015)

Dealers

  • No guarantee of presentation quality in media presentation – normally showroom or external shots with limited description.
  • Individual presentation often inadequately collated.
  • Specialisation limited to Aston Martin dealers, too often it is general classic car dealers offering “sale or return” terms.
  • Continuous marketing as part of general inventory.
  • The dealer takes control of your asset physically and in terms of sales revenue.
  • Will always prioritise their own inventory over a consignment vehicle which is often presented to show dealer stock in best light.
  • Settlement terms by individual arrangement, little security against conversion of your asset.
  • Individual arrangements with rarely any contractual clarity.

Summary:

Byron International recognises that we have to keep giving more to clients and innovate in our service to maintain our position in the market. We broaden our advertising reach, develop our marketing and introduce innovations to our customers like studio photography.

And that is the key – we work with and for our clients – we don’t expect them to fit in with our calendar or accept financial risk. Trading in an environment where our fees in a transaction can be half that of the cumulative commission of auction houses, we don’t just deliver an outstanding service in an ever changing market, we deliver great value for money and optimised returns.

Byron International