More than half a million 3.5-tonne vans have been registered since 2000, but now new and used buyers are demonstrating a preference for smaller 2.6-tonne vehicles.
George Alexander, EurotaxGlass’s chief commercial vehicle editor, said: ‘Businesses have realised that these smaller vans are prettier to look at, easier to live with and far more suited to the majority of used buyers who typically need to park ‘the wheels’ outside their home.
‘Over the next couple of years, the used market for late-year 3.5-tonne long-wheelbase vans will be awash with stock.
‘There will be too many occasions when vans will have too many dents and scratches, and far too many miles.
‘The result will be that, with no export market to save the day, prices will fall in response to volume and how well demand holds up.
‘Only the very best used stock will escape this dire situation, as there will rarely be too much choice at this end of the marketplace.’
Exactly how far used prices will fall is unknown, but Alexander was in no doubt that it will be by a long way.
He said: ‘We expect to see many big used vans being valued below those comparable smaller models from the same manufacturer.’
But, as many vans are on three-year contract hire deals, it will be a long time before the ideal balance is reached. In the meantime, fleets can minimise losses through clever remarketing.
Alexander said: ‘The best advice to fleets planning to dispose of high numbers of 3.5-tonne panel vans over the next 18 months is to adjust residual expectations firmly downwards, ensure that each van is presented to its highest potential, keep the numbers offered on any one day to a sensible level and accept the first sensible bid to ensure the market doesn’t stall.’