Fleet News

Disposals: Rarely has buyers’ interest been so high

Duncan Ward , BCA’s UK business development manager – commercial vehicles, gives an auctioneer’s view of the used CV market.

At the risk of being repetitive, 2007 to date has been consistently upbeat and dealers tell us that retail demand remains exceptional.

This is good news for sellers in the wholesale market, as rarely has buyers’ interest been so high.

Demand for the cleanest product is higher than ever and even high mileage damaged stock has seen an upturn.

As ever, buyers are paying extra premiums for rare and unusual vehicles, while added options such as aircon, metallic paint, alloy wheels and sat-nav really get the buyers’ attention.

So desirable or rare specifications – older plate but clean and low-mileage, six-door instead of five, LPG or even petrol, Luton or minibus bodied – are regularly outstripping guide prices.

There continues to be a shortage of stock in the market and this too is keeping values firm.

With good economic conditions continuing to promote new business start-ups, there’s plenty of demand to come.

Dealers remain hungry for stock and there are reports of operators holding out for the new models due to enter the market this year, again constricting supplies to the used market and even reports of manufacturers struggling to supply new product.

With plenty of work for vehicles to do, many operators are extending contracts – it all adds up to a real shortage in the used market.

Nearly-new remains desirable and Ford particularly has seen massive demand in sales staged with BCA.

A recent sale staged at BCA Nottingham sold every van on offer with new Transit prices actually rising from the strong debut the model made last December.

You would expect new models to make strong values when they first enter the used vehicle market – and new Transit certainly did.

What is more surprising is to see those initial launch values be substantially improved for comparable vehicles three months later.

Highest price in sale went to a 0606 New Transit 430 17-seat minibus in metallic tonic, which sold for £20,000, £900 more than similar spec versions sold at the launch sale over three months ago.

SWB, MWB and LWB vans and chassis-cabs also saw similar scale increases versus the launch event, underlining the demand for the 2007 International Van of the Year in the used commercial arena.

If vendors have stock to sell now, they should get it in the marketplace and take advantage of the demand. Some commentators estimate the shortfall between used demand and availability could be as high as 20% of current levels.

Demand such as this is really unprecedented, but as many commercial vehicle dealers are short of quality used stock the competition between buyers is intense. As used retailers will tell you, you can’t sell empty spaces!

Sector summary

  • Hatchbacks: Shortage. High demand
  • Car-sized vans: SLD critical. Colour and spec important
  • Small panel vans: Premiums for facelift models
  • One-tonne vans: Mileage and condition critical
  • MWB/LWB panel vans: Upturn in demand, less condition sensitive
  • Single cab pick-ups: Shortage of clean examples
  • Double-cab pick-ups: Increased numbers and demand
  • Land Rovers: Desperate shortage
  • Body builds: Definite upturn across all ranges
  • Lutons particularly are experiencing high demand – and buyers are not fussy what badge is on the bonnet. Anything unusual such as Connect tippers generates massive interest and feverish bidding.
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