Fleet News

Disposals: when a name means everything

'WORLD Cup fever did little to dampen the enthusiasm of commercial vehicle buyers and BCA's auction halls have been busy during the past few weeks. Bidding remains brisk and competitive – demonstrating that when the right stock is put before the right buyers in volume, then strong residuals surely follow.

But that demand is only realised if the preparation and presentation is to the highest standards – buyers actively seek out vehicles in 'ready-to-retail' condition, but pay less attention to vehicles that 'need work, before going to work'.

The value of a good name at disposal time is not just limited to the brand of the vehicle. Buyers also follow certain vendors, because they know they can be confident of the quality of the vehicles that come from that source. Now brand becomes a mix of factors that includes its original usage, the maintenance record, the age, mileage and condition and, perhaps most importantly of all, the perception of the first owner.

This explains why BCA continues to have such success with sales on behalf of BT, MoD, Consignia, TNT and national rental and leasing companies such as The Leasing Group, TLS Vehicle Rental and Lex Vehicle Leasing. These bluest of blue chip operators are themselves the 'brand' at disposal time – as it switches from being who manufactured the vehicle to who owned and operated it.

Commercial buyers buy a 'Gas Van' or a 'Red Post Van'. This might horrify the brand purists but down on the auction hall floor, life is very straightforward and simple.

Looking at the LCV market, the fleet and contract hire sector continues to perform well providing condition is good and service history is complete as is practical. The end-user wants good value for money – particularly in the £2,000-£4,000 price band – and here demand is very strong.

In general, the LCV marketplace is very busy with a good supply of direct-entered fleet stock available. Volume conversions are generally high and prices are steady, but not spectacular. New shape Transit vans are very much in demand and BCA is getting numerous enquiries as to availability from buyers. Conversely, old shape 'W' and 'X' registered Transits are readily available from a number of sources and have to be sensibly valued at remarketing time.

Low mileage Partner and Berlingo are very desirable and are making strong money when offered.

Values on Escort and Astravan have to be realistic and in line with condition as examples are plentiful in the marketplace, with many rather poorly presented. Demand is outstripping supply for dropsides and tippers – whatever the badge is on the front – but condition still remains paramount.

Minibuses that are specially adapted with wheelchair access make exceptional money when offered.

Standard 12/14 seater minibuses are plentiful, but remain sought after providing the condition is good – mileage is less of a consideration for buyers currently. In conclusion, it's worth underlining that body condition generally is becoming more and more critical at the point of sale than mileage.'

  • By Duncan Ward, British Car Auctions
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