Fleet News

Unusual queries help build the big picture

'DURING 17 years at CAP, I have been regularly amazed at the sheer breadth of valuation enquiries we receive from subscribers on a daily basis.

Many are for 'oddball' vehicles, the kind that are simply too rare to warrant inclusion in regular products. Or they are for standard vehicles that fall outside the 'normal' parameters of quoted mileages and therefore, again, require specialist advice.

In January, we handled 1,939 phone calls for cars and more than 500 for commercial vehicles, both heavies and lights. The heavies included everything one could imagine. Refuse vehicles are not especially unusual and nor are horseboxes.

But then we are often presented with truly original vehicles, such as a 7.5-tonne Box that featured two decks, a double reach tail lift and a fully equipped workshop, which had spent its life so far transporting racing cars around Europe.

We are also frequently asked to value ice cream vans.

These non-standard valuation requests actually account for more than one in five of all calls. Looking at our January enquiries, 749 were from dealers, garages and small traders. Auction houses made 112 valuation requests, with 163 from insurance companies.

The bulk were from the lenders and large fleet operators. Again, many of these were for unusual vehicles such as old Ferraris, Porsches and Rolls-Royces – dating back up to 40 years.

The analysis of these enquiries is invaluable to CAP as it offers a real insight into the market over and above the daily research conducted externally around the market.

Sometimes trends are revealed – or research findings confirmed in this way.

Of course, sometimes there is simply a random distribution of unusual vehicle valuations which amount to no more than chance. For example, we received eight valuation enquiries on American limos in January. Each one required additional research to satisfy the need for accuracy.

But some enquiries reveal a potentially regular market need. For example, the growth in enquiries for grey imports a few years ago played a significant part in the decision to launch Grey Book. Taxis are an interesting case, where the 'plate' can be worth even more than the vehicle itself. Lenders are often not aware of the potential risks of financing some deals but the fact remains that they cannot afford to turn business down on the grounds of risk unless it is quantified.

That is where CAP comes in. Whether it is a future residual value on a car only just launched, an insurance write-off figure or the current and future value of a 40-year-old Rolls-Royce, everything has a market value and every one is researched and validated here.

The bonus for CAP – and therefore, ultimately, the customer – is that the process of recording enquiries itself actually plays a part in building the clearest possible picture of the market as it constantly evolves.'

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