Fleet News

Disposals: Furious bidding and star performers

ALEX Wright, Manheim Auction Group’s commercial vehicle director, looks back at the highs and lows of 2005.

Everyone says it, but it’s true – where did the year go? Once again the auction halls were decked with boughs of holly and we were left to reflect on another 12 months of furious bidding, star performers and new products.

Throughout the year, lower mileage, ready-to-retail vans have been selling first time for good money. This has been a common message for many years – vendors benefit from spending a little extra on reconditioning their vehicles to increase their chances of selling quickly and for a higher price.

The guidebooks were thrown out many times, and by many models, in 2005. As spring arrived, the Vauxhall Astravan was making in many cases more than its equivalent Astra estate car and the Volkswagen Transporter was making up to £1,000 over book price – with short supply to thank for the VW’s sky-high prices.

Other popular models in 2005 included the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up, which continued to make a fortune – 02-plated double-cabs were reaching the £9,000 mark in early summer months.

The ‘old faithful’ Ford Escort van made another comeback as a desirable used van. Good condition, sub-60,000-mile Escorts sold around the £3,000 mark.

The Ford Transit Connect, in particular the LWB version, saw bids rising towards the end of the year and in the same sector the Volkswagen Caddy was also in strong demand, with four vehicles selling towards the end of November for an average of more than 121% of CAP.

The small car-derived van market remained rock steady with diesel models in reasonable condition performing well. This market was one of the only areas where vehicles with 100,000-plus miles on the clock did not put buyers off, with many higher mileage vans being bought for export.

The summer saw a change in trend in 2005 – traditionally the summer market is full of slow-downs, lack of demand and falling prices. However, 2005 saw more vans than normal coming into the auction halls and record sales at Manheim’s seven CV auction centres.

Manheim’s first LCV Market Analysis was published in 2005, bringing more factual used value information to the industry. Taking the prediction element out of setting residuals on a used van, it provided information in a previously woolly arena.

Manheim’s big news for 2005 was the launch of Simulcast – the interactive van auction enabling online buyers to watch live images of a Manheim auction hall on their PCs, with full auctioneer’s commentary and the ability to bid for vans in real-time. Simulcast has proved a great success, with more than 180 vans entered into the first two Simulcast sales in Colchester. More than 60 buyers logged on, over one third of vehicles received bids from these buyers and 10% of the 60 bought online.

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