Fleet News

Disposals: Demand is high but condition is critical

A good January has been followed by a strong February, which has seen plenty of demand keeping prices firm.

Both trade and end-users are attending in large numbers and bidding strongly and as a result prices are stronger now than they were at the start of the year. Commentators are reporting healthy levels of retail business and this is pulling demand through the wholesale market.

In terms of sheer demand, LCVs are currently outperforming the car market, even taking into consideration the lower volumes of commercials that are available in the marketplace.

The same set of economic conditions that have caused some fragility in car sales – rising inflation, three interest rate rises in five months – is not affecting the small businesses and self-employed, who typically may buy used vans in the same way.

However strong demand may be, condition remains important as buyers are reluctant if vans are tatty or poorly-presented. A number of vendors have enjoyed great success in using BCA’s Smart Prepared services to get their commercials in the best possible condition. It used to be the case that a company van was lucky to see a mop and bucket at remarketing time – now sellers are prepared to invest in machine operated polishes and Smart Repairs to help their vehicles achieve the optimum price.

In terms of what’s hot, the nearly-new market could be said to be at boiling point. As a case in point, Ford followed up the successful launch of new Transit at BCA in December with the launch of the New Ranger at BCA in February. Nearly 100 buyers descended on BCA’s Nottingham centre to bid and the sale recorded a 100% conversion and a turnover of just under £1 million. The new 06-registered Rangers were the stars of the show, however, and made a strong debut, achieving 75% of current list at an average of 2,000 miles.

Also included in the entry were 30 new model Transits, which built on the extremely successful debut made at BCA Nottingham in December. Again, interest was exceptional. Top price paid for a SWB model was £11,600, which was achieved by a 260 85PS van in finished in metallic tonic while in LWB format, £17,000 was paid for a 2006 ‘06’ New Transit 350 100PS tipper. Even with the improved availability of New Transit, demand on the outgoing model remains as firm as ever with a 2005 ‘55’ Transit 17-seat minibus making £17,100 at 3,000 miles. Ford Fiesta vans also performed well, averaging 117% of CAP across the board.

Also performing strongly at auction for the first time, the launch of Vauxhall’s New Astravan at BCA Nottingham exceeded pre-sale expectations. The event attracted over 80 registered buyers to Nottingham, with a further 22 online bidders linked to the auction hall via BCA’s LiveOnline service. Some fast and furious bidding saw an Astravan 1.7 CDTi Club in Black Sapphire sell for £9,100 and an Astravan 1.9 CDTi Sportive 120PS in Moonland realise £9,650. Looking at the typical three- and four-year-old fleet and lease market, small vans remain big news.

There are few examples in the market and their scarcity means clean straight examples can make strong money at auction. Their size means they tend to have light use and are often in better condition at any given mileage than their bigger brethren. Buyers don’t expect a high specification and are quite happy with a white finish. Buying or selling, expect premium prices for Peugeot 206 van, Renault Clio van, Vauxhall Corsavan and as mentioned above, Ford Fiesta van.

Demand continues for well-presented SWB/MWB panel vans and as always a van with a high specification and a good ‘retail’ colour is likely to do exceptionally well.

There’s still a massive shortage of Land Rover Defender and a seemingly inexhaustible demand for those that are available.

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