In his editorial comment in the April issue of the Commercial Vehicle edition, chief commercial vehicle editor George Alexander said: ‘It is to be hoped that the fortunes for commercial vehicles will continue in line with the wider economy, which might lead to one of the longest periods of market strength that van and truck dealers have ever seen. It is becoming likely that CV sales in 2005 could hit a new record.’ Alexander said after a slow start, most auction halls are now packed with enthusiastic buyers. In the small van sector, Citroen Berlingo and Dispatch are selling at firm prices at the first time of asking, particularly where mileage is under 50,000. But Alexander said: ‘With the firm’s aggressive sales offers on new vans, trade buyers are applying caution on any late-year Citroens, fearing that bidding too strongly will not provide a sufficient margin of profit.’ Moving up a sector, Glass’s is seeing healthy interest in the Ford Transit Connect. Best prices are being made for those models with a sliding side door and common rail TDCi engines. In the panel van sector, Alexander said: ‘LDV dealers might well now breathe a sigh of relief following the arrival of the long-awaited Maxus.
‘Compared to the Convoy and Pilot, the Maxus brings a fresh design to the forecourts that is likely to have the customers lining up for a test drive and, hopefully, many subsequent sales.’ Meanwhile, the used market for the older models remains little changed, with the best Convoys selling at prices close to guide value and the occasional low mileage example or long-bodied dropside doing a little better. Over at CAP, research is now ongoing into the specific price performance of window vans following anecdotal reports of some confusion and disagreement over their relative desirability. A spokesman said: ‘From this survey it is clear that a premium value for window vans cannot be assumed. Of the dealers questioned, 66% reported that when buying for stock they would pay less for such a vehicle than the windowless version.
‘Just 6% saw no difference in trade value while 28% would pay more. Clearly caution is required when pricing these vans.’ Another area of increasing interest in the light commercials market is the value of specification and optional extras. Initial research among dealers questioned showed that air conditioning is ranked top of the list of desirable features, with ABS coming last.