Aston Barclay has announced plans to open a new 18-acre vehicle auction Mega Centre near Wakefield, following planning approval by Wakefield District Council.
The auction will open its doors in Q4 2018 and provides 70,000 square feet of space which Aston Barclay will transform into a new northern powerhouse.
Following the blueprint of the Midlands Mega centre at Donington Park, which was opened in September 2017 and which has been so well received, the plans are to make Wakefield the most modern and technologically advanced auction facility anywhere in Europe.
It continues Aston Barclay’s focus on combining digital technology with a first class physical auction experience, and confirms the group’s strategy of creating large regional auction hubs, rather than a large network of smaller centres.
Its dynamic approach to bridging the gap between a digital and physical auction environment remains a unique proposition in the UK. The gap between its competitors will widen further as more new digital technology is employed across the summer, starting with Virtual Auction which enables vendors to sell cars from remote locations any time, any place, anywhere.
Banks of video screens throughout the Wakefield Mega Centre and a high-specification internal finish, means it will resemble a dynamic retail environment.
Interactive screens, Apps and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will further transform the buying and selling experience both physically and online, turning the Mega Centre into a powerful destination of choice for buying and selling used cars, both physically and online.
The new site will feature two glass-fronted auction halls and is set to employ around 90 full and part time staff once it is fully operational in early 2019. The vision is that first-class road and rail links will help it to become the ultimate destination for buyers with leisure facilities, gourmet restaurant and meeting rooms freely available for them to use.
With the ultimate capacity to sell 50,000 used vehicles annually, Wakefield will contribute to Aston Barclay’s plan of doubling its sales volume to 160,000 vehicles by 2022. It will boast internal storage for over 200 cars internally in a fully lit, air conditioned, dust-free environment.
Aston Barclay’s current Leeds auction has outgrown its existing six-acre site following continued strong demand from vendors and buyers, and its 40 staff, and all existing customers will be relocated to Wakefield.
Leeds is consistently voted as the UK’s top auction site by its customers and already two high profile vendors have signed up to use the site from day one.
Aston Barclay’s CEO Neil Hodson said: “There will be no other auction like Wakefield in the UK or Europe. It offers a five-star building with enough space to auction and store hundreds of cars all undercover. We are looking to introduce more technology into Wakefield and across the group during the summer.
“This further supports our ambition of revolutionising the UK remarketing sector by combining the best features of a strong physical network with innovative technology and unique digital routes to market. Look out for the hard hat tours of the new site which will be announced very soon,” he added.
Donington celebrates its first birthday in September 2018 and will have sold 20,000 used cars in its first year. The extra 6.5 acres of land at Aston Barclay’s Prees Heath, Shropshire is now ready for development, while its southern Mega Centre in Chelmsford is undergoing a £1m investment to increase capacity and install a twin turntable inspection bay.