Fleet News

Big is beautiful in panel van sector

BOTH Glass’s Guide and CAP are reporting healthy values for bigger, more powerful panel vans as autumn progresses.

Both said latest versions of the Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato, which all come off the same production line, are figuring well with customers. George Alexander, Glass’s chief editor, commercial vehicles, said: ‘These customers are eager for modern design and reliability but on a lower budget. Longer wheelbases combined with the latest high-pressure fuel technology have placed these marques high on the trade’s wanted list.’

Alexander also reported that higher powered Iveco Dailys were attracting ‘favourable market sentiment when combining the optimum in power and size’ while older, smaller Ivecos were being given the cold shoulder.

Meanwhile, there is an upturn in fortunes for turbocharged Volkswagen LTs after a negative response to the SDI models.

In the car-derived sector, Glass’s is seeing strong demand for the Astravan – only true car-derived van in the sector – especially Sportiv versions. Meanwhile the old Courier and Escort vans continue to struggle as they are often hard used ex-utility models, although the Transit Connect is maintaining a good performance with price levels remaining high.

CAP has this month introduced a new retail sales performance indicator. It has selected a representative sample of dealers across the franchise and non-franchise sectors to take part in a monthly survey of retail sales performance.

A spokesman said: ‘This research reveals that in the light commercials market we currently have a dynamic, busy and confident trade buying activity, despite an overall reduction in retail van sales measured among the sample during September. In total, 41% of dealers surveyed sold fewer vans to end users in September compared with the month before. Some 38% reported final figures largely unchanged from August while 21% managed to increase sales.

‘Looking forward to this month the overall picture was one of strong expectations and confidence. Less than 10% of the same sample questioned during October expected retail sales performance to worsen during November.

‘Forty one per cent expected no change on the month but exactly half of the sample were confident that retail sales would increase. This overall confidence has been reflected by strong trade buying activity which is currently matching demand quite closely with supply.

‘In volume terms, although there are some minor regional variations, supply levels remained largely unchanged during October, despite the frequently voiced claim that vans were harder to find.’

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