He said: 'The end of the year has seen the auction halls buzzing with activity as buyers compete strongly for the stock on offer. The market really came alive in September and just got better and better throughout October and November. It could be that we are looking at one of the best years on record for commercial vehicle sales, with strong new sales and an exceptionally bullish used market.'
The demand is benefiting all areas of the market, but in particular the 2 to 3 year old fleet and contract hire sector has seen some exceptional results in recent weeks. It's hard to recall a stronger period in the marketplace and BCA has been recording better results in the latter part of 2003 than we have seen in even the peak periods of recent years. We are seeing increased interest in late year, high mileage vehicles – a sector being generated by the growing 24-hour service culture in the UK, where you might have three shifts using the same vehicle!
With 12 month old hard-worked vans coming to the market with 60,000 and 70,000 miles covered, pre-sale preparation is vital. Increasingly vendors with this type of stock are investing in BCA Smart Prepared services, which brings these used vehicles back to as-good-as-new condition.
With such high demand, conversion rates in the corporate sector are running at around 80% - across the board – and in many cases vendors are selling every van they offer in a sale. Professional buyers will get a taste for particular branded sale sections and attend every sale, while end-users like the comfort of a good name in the log book.
So what's hot? Buyers are particularly looking for Land Rover product, in virtually any configuration it would seem, while the demand for 4x4 double cab pick-ups remains very strong. Turning to product only recently available in the market, new Trafic/Vivaro and Fiat Doblo remain scarce and much sought after, while Transit Connect is rarely seen in open auction and is commanding premium prices.
As ever, anything unusual and away from the norm is likely to catch the buyers' attention. A sale on behalf of Motability at Belle Vue in late November featured a range of specially-adapted vehicles for wheel chair and disabled access. The sale attracted huge crowds and recorded some exceptional prices that – as would be expected – raced ahead of guide values.
Meanwhile a sale at Measham saw a 2000X registered Skoda Felicia Fun sell for £4,550 at around 40,000 miles – that's a massive 209% of CAP!
Demand for large capacity delivery vehicles - box vans and lutons, particularly with tail lifts – has been exceptionally strong in the run-up to Christmas as the wholesale and retail delivery markets look for extra capacity. In particular vehicles of this type sourced from the Royal Mail sales programme have been attracting a lot of attention from buyers, and this vendor is experiencing great returns from selectively Smart Preparing vehicles to the highest standards.
In short, if it's a bit different, at a sensible mileage and well-presented in the auction hall, then buyers are competing strongly and the prices achieved will bring a smile to any fleet managers' lips!
Selection of prices from Motability sale
98\S Fiat Fiorino 1.4 MC 4DR petrol 33,892 miles £3050 271.1% of CAP
00\X Renault Kangoo 1.4 RXE 5dr est pet 51,992 miles £6800 197.1%
02\02 VW Caddy 1.9 TDI K MC 4dr Cab Dsl 11,940 miles £9100 176.7%
99\T Fiat Scudo 1.9 D EL MC 6dr Window Cab Diesel 49,633 miles £6000 173.9%
00\X VW Transporter 1.9 800SP MC 4dr Diesel 17,786 miles £8700 173.1%
00\W Renault Kangoo 1.4 RN MC 5dr estate petrol 14,824 miles £6700 167.5%
01\Y VW Transporter 1.9 800SP MC 4dr Diesel 35,905 miles £9000 167.4%
01\Y Citroen Dispatch 1.9 D MC 6dr Diesel 14,298 £9000 166.6%
Selection of prices nationwide
00W VW Caddy Pick Up 69,500 miles £3,400 160.0% of CAP
96N Mercedes Sprinter 312lwb Hi 274,000 miles £2,800 143.6%
97R Peugeot Boxer 12 Seat Minibus 50,000 miles £4,050 157.2%
00X VW Transporter TDi lwb 87,000 miles £6,600 157.1%
99V Vauxhall Movano 2.5 swb 44,000 miles £4,700 146.8%
96P Renault Clio 111,000 miles £3,025 144.0%
99T VW Caravelle CL swb 8 seat 95,000 miles £8,800 136.7%
00W VW LT35 TDi lwb 64,000 miles £8,550 137.9%
99V Ford Transit 80 72,000 miles £3,950 136.2%
98S Toyota Hilux 78,000 miles £6,525 134.5%
01Y LDV Convoy Luton 19,000 miles £7,000 130.2%
00W Citroen Dispatch TD 69,000 miles £4,225 120.7%
03/03 Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 Td 3dr 3,616 miles £15,100 125.8%
01/51 LDV Convoy 2.5 4dr 24,139 miles £6,300 114.0%
00/V Brava Pick-up 2.5 Di 55,919 miles £4,400 118.9%
99/V Courier 1.8 D 50 5,350 miles £2,250 111.1%
00/W New Transit 350 Lwb 2.4 Td 81,268 £5,450 110.6%
99/T Dispatch 1.9D 133,852 miles £2,900 127.4%
00/W New Transit 350 Lwb 2.4 Td 83,796 miles £5,500 112.8%
00/X Ford Transit 330 Mwb 2.4 Tdi 84,308 miles £4,900 112.6%