A GOOD January has been followed by a strong February with lots of interest from the trade. Attendances have been strong around BCA’s nationwide network, with some exceptional price results recorded at Preston, Newport, Derby, Blackbushe, Glasgow, Belle Vue and Measham.
Alongside this, the new market is rampant with the SMMT predicting another record year. The question for fleet van operators is ‘will this affect the used market?’ Looking back to last year, demand for new did not impact negatively on used. The start to 2005, while it has been good, has not had the real kick we have seen in previous years. Demand is a little patchy and the astute fleet operator should be prepared to react to changing trends in the market.
The market has become noticeably more mileage sensitive in recent weeks and the price guides have not picked this up as yet. It’s working both ways – lower mileage is generally outperforming book by hundreds of pounds, while higher mileage can under-perform by a similar amount. This leads to large price discrepancies on ostensibly similar stock and has left some fleet managers scratching their heads and wondering why!
In a similar vein, some price sectors are performing better than others. The sub £4,000 van is a highly desirable commodity with plenty of demand and lots of competition for the best examples. Get into a higher price band – around £7,000, for example – and demand becomes much more variable.
So what are buyers looking for? The car-sized van remains desirable with a real shortage of Peugeot 206 and plenty of demand keeping prices firm for Astra, Berlingo, Partner, Kangoo and Combo. Ford Escort is starting to look a little dated and represents good value for money at the moment.
Pick-ups remain a rare commodity and are desirable in either 4x2 or 4x4 configuration with buyers actively seeking Caddy, Hi-lux, Skoda, Brava, Ranger and Tata. However, these become less desirable if they are in poor condition, in a non-standard colour and fitted with high visibility beacon lights. The Double-cab market is specification-sensitive, but currently remains strong.
Turning to panel vans Expert, Dispatch and Scudo are performing well but are engine and mileage sensitive. When it comes to power, the more the better particularly where these vans have a second life in the courier and delivery business. Old Transit continues to perform well and is a big favourite with buyers, while Sprinter and LT are in short supply. Price is a big factor for the SWB van and the sub-£4,000 market is buoyant.
Buyers looking for medium and long-wheel based vans are faced with large numbers of high mileage examples in poor condition with lots of Transit and Sprinters in the mix. Consequently, the few clean low mileage examples are fiercely contested for, as are the rarer models such as Master and Movano.
There is still exceptional demand for Lutons, allied to relatively short supply and this is likely to continue. Tippers and Dropsides are very price sensitive, with plenty of demand in the sub-£5,000 sector.
What buyers want the most is a van with a good pedigree at a sensible mileage and a complete set of documents including the full service history, V5 and MOT. In all cases however, condition remains critical as buyers are reluctant if vans are tatty or poorly presented. A number of vendors have enjoyed great success in using BCA’s Smart
Prepared services to get their commercials in the best possible condition. It used to be the case that a company van was lucky to see a mop and bucket at remarketing time – now sellers are prepared to invest in machine operated polishes and Smart Repairs to help their vehicles achieve the optimum price.