Fleet News

Disposals: New van sales fall but used market buzzes

BCA reports a strong start to the year for light commercial vehicle sales, with used LCV sales volumes ahead, year on year. BCA’s UK Business Development Manager - Commercial Vehicles Duncan Ward commented “Despite the fact that new LCV registrations showed the first signs of slowing after some 60 months of continuous growth, demand remains very strong in the used market.

“Our first major sales of the year at Blackbushe, Belle Vue and Measham - each offering over 400 vehicles - attracted huge crowds and competitive bidding. Across the board over 75% of the entry was sold with strong results for Royal Mail, Lex, LTSB, LeasePlan, Lombard, Bank of Scotland and Citroen. Other sales around the network returned equally strong results, notably at Newport, Bedford, Glasgow and Nottingham.

“This good start for 2006 follows on from a strong close to last year. The market enjoyed an extremely busy autumn and early winter in terms of demand, attendance, conversion and price, certainly compared to the rest of the year. Certain corporate sales sections enjoyed 100% conversions and the demand kept going right to the end of the year.

“Even with all this good news, reserve prices are critical at the minute. Buyers follow brands and those that are in touch with market sentiment on a daily basis are those that reap the rewards. Buyers are polarised around the best and cleanest vans and the last thing they want is a fistful of provisional bids at the end of the day and an unfulfilled stock quota. Nothing energises an auction hall more than the hammer going down.

“As we saw last year, there are plenty of buyers around with a 3 to 4 thousand pound budget. However, January has seen a resurgence of interest in higher priced LCVs with the late year market notably strong. It remains to be seen if this is a long term trend.

“High-mileage remains a turn-off for buyers, while condition remains more important than age. The oversupply of poorly presented MWB/LWB panel vans continues and buyers are still working to tight budgets meaning there is little opportunity for speculative buying.

“Vendors are getting the best results when their vehicles are valued sensibly in line with market sentiment. While Guides have an important role to play in benchmarking, problems can occur if vendors slavishly follow them to the exclusion of everything else. Vendors should benchmark and measure performance but at the end of the day in a competitive auction environment, everything will find its true market value.”

BCA sector overview – January 2006

  • Hatchbacks – short supply, desirable.
  • Car-sized vans – upturn in demand. SLD now critical.
  • Escort resurgent.
  • Small panel vans – Scudo, Expert, Dispatch, Vito – condition is critical.
  • SWB/ MWB/LWB panel vans – plenty about, mileage critical.
  • Body-builds - demand is variable.
  • Pick-ups – 4x4 double cabs must be top specification.
  • Land Rovers – Stationwagon particularly sought after.

    Sector focus – pick-ups

    BCA’s Duncan Ward comments: “The pick-up sector has enjoyed relative volume growth in recent years thanks to the lenient nenefit-in-kind taxation for company car drivers. This fuelled the demand for hi-spec double-cab pick-ups that effectively acted as the family car at weekends.

    “As a result, this sector has been a consistent performer at auction, but with pick-ups and LCVs subject to more stringent BIK rules from 2007, this is likely to see demand patterns changing. From the fleet owner’s viewpoint, there are some key factors that come into play when remarketing pick-ups. Double-cabs will always be more desirable because they are simply more useable as a family vehicle. Even considering that most pick-ups will be bought to put back to work, many will go to self-employed business people and may spend the weekends ferrying the family about.

    “Specification is very important. The basic models simply do not attract as many buyers, as the next owner prefers leather trim, air-con, alloy wheels, metallic paint, running boards and CD player, for example. Colour will also affect desirability and price. A pick-up in white looks utilitarian – the same vehicle in red or blue is a more attractive proposition for the used buyer and could make significantly more.

    “Aside from the specification, how the vehicle has been used and is presented makes a huge difference. If pick-ups come to the market showing signs of heavy wear and use then buyers may well look elsewhere. A full service history will show buyers that the vehicle has been properly maintained and must be considered essential.”

    Sample prices from BCA’s auction halls

    Year Mileage Price
    02 52 Mitsubishi L200 4WD Animal Double Cab 62,294 8,100
    03 53 Mitsubishi L200 4WD Warrior Double Cab 16,449 10,650
    02 52 Nissan Navara DI 4WD Double Cab 37,085 7,800
    03 53 Nissan Navara DI 4WD King Cab 14,651 9,350
    02 52 Toyota Hi-Lux 270 GX 4WD Double Cab 72,258 6,350
    05 05 Toyota Hi-Lux 280 VX 4WD Double Cab 12,554 11,500
    05 05 Ford Ranger 2.5 XLT TD 4WD Crew Cab 12,554 11,000
    02 02 Vauxhall Brava 2.5 TD 4x2 CrewCab 12,554 4,500
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