'DISCOUNTING and incentives on commercial vehicle forecourts have been higher than ever during 2003 and manufacturers have been aggressively offering low finance deals on new vehicles. However, the effect on the used market has been minimal and the market has risen by 10.2% when compared to 2002.
The used market has been inundated with Royal Mail vehicles during 2003, with the auction halls selling them in their thousand. Buyers have lapped them up with 100% conversion rates at many of the sales. The most recent Royal Mail sale at Manheim Auctions Haydock was a 'centre for a day' sale and prices including the following were achieved:
Vauxhall Combo Club W '00 22,747 £1,575 121% reserve
LDV Pilot 2.6T 1.9D R '98 63,804 £1,750 159% reserve
Ford Escort 55 1.8D X '00 19,315 £2,000 105% reserve
Ford Escort 55 1.8D X '00 18,715 £2,100 117
The success of Royal Mail vehicles in the auction halls in 2003 has surpassed everyone's expectations – a success story that could not have been predicted.
High-spec 4x4 pick-ups with air conditioning and alloy wheels have done extremely well during 2003. The predictions of a market slow-down because of the 'plus-VAT' rules simply have not happened with the 'sexy' pick-ups, although the strength of the 'working cab' end of the market has pulled back slightly.
The car-derived sector of the market has performed well, with established vehicles that have been on the market for the past two to three years, such as the Astra and Berlingo, selling well.
The introduction of the Ford Transit Connect on to the market in 2003 again exceeded all expectations and it was not unusual for used vehicles to attract prices that match that of the brand new vehicles.
The Volkswagen Transporter Mk IV ended production in 2003, resulting in heavy incentives and discounts, on occasion offering up to £3,000 off the list price.
However, despite these offers the performance of the Transporter in the auction halls was not affected, highlighting the quality of the vehicle in the eyes of the buyers. Vehicles that have been in short supply throughout the year, such as the Mercedes 208 and Volkswagen LT28, have achieved excellent prices and in the larger panel van market, the Mercedes Sprinter has literally flown out of the halls.