New user-friendly website is
part of relaunch, reports Claire Hack.

Cars Direct Auction Group has
relaunched as CD Auction Group as part of an ongoing bid to expand
car sales and diversify into other assets.

Based in Corby, Northamptonshire,
the company now offers plant machinery, commercial vehicles and
“pre-loved” office furniture for auction, all of which are ex-lease
or contract hire.

The rebranding has included a
redesign of the company’s website, aimed at creating a more
“user-friendly” interface.

Speaking at a launch event in
London last month, managing director Roger Woodward said: “We built
up a reputation as Cars Direct but we’ve also started selling plant
over the last 12 months – it’s difficult to do that under the old

“The full range of sales and
products became available across the group.”

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Over the course of the last year,
CD has moved increasingly into assets other than vehicles and
expects to continue doing so in future.

Woodward said: “We’re constantly
developing and moving forward, although we don’t want people to
think we’re going away from cars. That’s always going to be our
core business but online we feel we can sell anything.”

In the months to come, he plans to
double the number of cars sold in a year, which currently stands at
about 7,000.

Key clients include Anglia Water
and ING Lease, and CD has recently picked up business with Lloyds
TSB subsidiary Lex Autolease. It also works extensively with car
supermarkets in the UK.

But despite easily weathering a car
shortage a year ago, Woodward said the lack of vehicles could last
another six months and continues to affect retail sellers. The
company therefore chose to diversify in order to continue growing
in a market still plagued with instability.

CD has also been able to use the
economic downturn to its advantage, Woodward said, as much of its
“pre-loved” furniture is acquired as a result of office closures
and administration.

Diversifying into other assets
classes could also be a way to boost business during traditionally
quieter periods, and Woodward added that business can often be
slower towards the end of the year.

The company also conducted a survey
showing major plant and vehicle operators are set to move more of
their defleet business to online trade auctions in future. The
survey, carried out over the summer, showed 80% of operators said
they would look to use online auctions more over the course of the
next five years.

A launch auction selling 250 vehicles, aimed at promoting the
new brand, was held in September. Its new website can be found at