Fleet News

Will award winners still find favour when used?

THE recent Fleet News Awards were another great reminder of the real quality of today's new car market. But the car market moves faster than ever and while we were talking about new cars then the vehicles in question are already used cars now.

So how will the winners fare in the used market? If they can win new car prizes, are they capable of winning the public's heart and hard-earned cash in the used market? The simple answer for all the award winners is yes because each one has a certain quality that will shine through in years to come — that sometimes elusive desirability factor that every manufacturer strives to achieve.

Some may not have the same build quality as others, but cute looks and a sexy package can often be more important to the used car buyer, as image remains very important. Otherwise how else could a Renault Clio and a Mercedes-Benz S-class both win awards at the same event?

But our industry caters for all needs, tastes and pockets. And these days it also offers reliability and safety, regardless of price, which applies equally in the used market.

Internet delivery boom

HOME delivery is seeing a real resurgence, thanks to the internet. Supermarkets are now buying even more vans, to their own individual specifications and manufacturers are happy to take their business.

According to CAP's van man, Red Book editor David Hill, there will come a point when the market becomes saturated and a fridge van will be worth less than a panel van. Some supermarket chains have been ordering large numbers of similarly specced vehicles and it will be worth looking for the dual chiller/freezer compartments as they may be worth a little more.

We will be seeing a good many more box fridges in the marketplace, with the first batches showing up now. Those 208 fridge boxes we have seen so far are holding up well in price, mainly thanks to the manufacturer controlling most disposals, but they must be close to filling most of the gaps in the used market.

In the open marketplace we have seen that unless it is a very late fridge panel van then the price achieved at open sale is little more than a standard van.

Boxes are, however, another story and even a normal Box is miles behind a Luton, let alone one with a fridge or chiller on it.

Prices in this market will certainly fall as more and more product becomes available.

All but one of the big supermarkets now offers home delivery and we advise caution to anybody entering this market sector.

Mini-MPVs continue to shine

THE mini-MPV market is one of the best performing sectors currently in the used market. As they have been in the market for a few years now, many are getting down to a price that are affordable to most buyers, typically those with families who need a vehicle that is a bit more versatile than a normal car.

Almost every small MPV is doing well, but especially the Vauxhall Zafira, Citroen Xsara Picasso, Renault Scenic and the numerous offerings from Japan and the Pacific Basin such as Mazda Premacy, Nissan Almera Tino, Mitsubishi Space Star and a more recent addition to the MPV stable — the Hyundai Matrix.

There are many more on the market, and all are very desirable, but of course at the expense of the more traditional family saloon or hatchback.

The rise of the mini MPV can only increase the pressure on the typical upper medium used car.

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