Fleet News

Used van values tumble

The value of used light commercial vehicles (LCV) is falling at its quickest rate this year.

The market for used vans was holding steady at the beginning of the year thanks to supply difficulties with some new LCVs.

However, these have now been resolved, resulting in a fall in demand for second-hand vans.

"There continues to be pressure in the used van market as average values fall across the board.

The average value across all van sectors dropped to £3,255 in July, down from £3,499 in June - a fall of nearly £250 and the biggest monthly drop we have seen this year,” said Duncan Ward, BCA's UK business development manager - commercial vehicles.

“Average values have fallen by more than £600 compared to those recorded in January 2008."

At recent sales, vans entered by major leasing and rental companies have taken centre stage, with their representatives allowing big numbers of lots to sell, even where price expectations have not been reached.

“The upside of this strategy is that often such a busy leasing section of an auction will see prices rise noticeably once buyers hear the hammer dropping,” said George Alexander, editor of Glass’s Guide to Used Commercial Vehicles.

Prices for small vans are coming under greater downward pressure as the volumes rise. In addition, models with older diesel technology prove difficult to shift.

“The exceptions are those with more ‘oomph’ under the bonnet, which increases the chances of a sale,” added Mr Alexander.

But BCA remained upbeat. "It is by no means all bad news, however, and clean, straight panel vans still find a ready audience.

"The late-plate market is somewhat less buoyant than it was, now that many of the delivery problems on new vehicles have eased, but the best stock always sells well whatever the market conditions.

"Professional buyers all want retail quality vans that can be turned quickly for a profit,” said Mr Ward.

"With this continued pressure on prices for vans at auction, vendors could do worse than look at the basics of remarketing to ensure they are doing their best for their vehicles when it is time to sell.

"Simple things, done well can pay dividends in the current market.”

He advised that remarketing rules for vans are no different than they are for cars - proper preparation and good presentation are vital.

“Appraisals and valuations should be in line with current market conditions - there's no point in pricing yourself out of the market before you even begin,” said Mr Ward.

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