Demand remained strong throughout the summer, with buyers competing for stock across the board.
Following the record values seen in the second quarter for fleet and lease light commercials, values rose again in July to new record levels at £4,150 and dipped just below £4,000 in August.
There was also plenty of buying power about in the late-year low mileage sector.
There really is a shortage of nearly-new, manufacturer-sourced closed sale product and dealers and approved buyers are competing strongly for the few examples out there.
Similarly, any late-plate stock that surfaces in fleet and lease sales is eagerly snapped up at well above guide prices.
For example a recent lease sale offered a late-plate, short wheelbase Vauxhall Vivaro that had covered only a few thousand miles.
It sold for in excess of £10,000, a comparable price to an entry-level new van. The few ‘new’ models we are seeing at auction – Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter – are making storming money.
Nearly-new stock remains hugely desirable, particularly with the manufacturers bringing a number of new models to the used market in recent months.
There are also the well-documented supply chain issues affecting some areas of the new market, which has encouraged some buyers to look at the nearly new sector instead.
As a result, late-plate values have been strong all year and increased by around £700 between June and August to nearly £10,600.
Looking at the longer-term price trends going back to last year shows growth across the board.
Fleet and lease values have averaged nearly £4,000 in 2007 – the same period in 2006 averaged £3,636.
Part-exchange values reached a peak in May 2007 at £3,500 and have averaged £3,329 this year, compared to £3,165 last year.
Nearly-new values are much more erratic, largely due to the lower volumes, meaning model mix can have a direct effect on price.
That aside, values averaged £10,466 to the half-year point this year, compared to £9,797 in 2006.
We are only now beginning to see an easing of prices for Ford Transit Connect as the market starts to see some bigger volumes from corporate fleets.
It’s certainly been a long honeymoon for the model and well-specified examples remain highly desirable.
The luxury double-cab market remains strong – even while volumes and availability are rising there is massive demand for clean and tidy, well-specced ‘retail examples’.
Even basic 4x4 models will make up to £1,000 more if they are in a retail colour such as silver, rather than white.
As the double-cab is plentiful so all of a sudden single-cabs are in demand for rarity value – we have seen clean examples sell for in excess of the book value for the double-cab model.
Buyers continue to bid strongly for car-sized vans providing they have a side-loading door. This has changed from a ‘nice-to-have’ feature to a ‘must-have’ in recent months.
Air-con is going to increase in importance as driver comfort is also a health and safety issue. And if you have air-con, you need a bulkhead.
The market is in good health, but with interest rate rises yet to really bite we should still be mindful of potential pressure on values.
Even while the commercial market seems relatively immune, price levels are important and buyers are increasingly ‘price led’.
The market for vehicles in clean, retail-ready condition will remain strong, but for LCVs in average condition there could be price pressure later in the year.
With this in mind, buyers are avoiding anything that needs repair or bodywork and vans that are scraped, lettered, with abused interiors, rips and damaged plastics are generally being overlooked.
Small businesses have been very much the driving force behind the renaissance in van sales and despite rumblings from some sectors about business confidence, while economic conditions remain relatively benign and stock is in short supply, it is likely that the demand will continue.
Vans – fleet/lease 2007
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