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07 Feb 2008

Influx of late-year light commercial vehicles could be good news

The influx of used light commercial stock currently inundating auction sites could be one of the biggest opportunities to present itself to retailers in a decade or more, according to EurotaxGlass's, publisher of Glass's Guide to Commercial Vehicle Values.

Large volumes of commercial vehicles are currently being de-fleeted by rental and leasing firms - an inevitable consequence of the many three- and four-year contracts that were signed during a time of soaring registrations.  This has produced a surge of late-year vans arriving on the used market.  "With 2007 being a record breaking year for new vehicle registrations, fleets have plenty of additional used vans to dispose of," explains George Alexander, Chief Commercial Vehicle Editor at EurotaxGlass's.

"Following 30 months of reporting late-year light commercial stock shortages, we now find that there is ample supply.  This could prove to be a major opportunity for retailers to acquire stock at attractive prices.  Despite not all stock being in perfect condition, vendors, dealers and customers can hopefully find sufficient common ground to achieve another good year for used van sales in 2008," continues Alexander.

Concerns about the UK economy towards the close of last year have also contributed to the greater availability of used vans, says Alexander.  "It is not surprising that businesses do not wish to carry unnecessary capacity within their fleets at a time of economic uncertainty.  January is a time when the used market is commonly close to dormant and the extra LCVs taken on in the run-up to Christmas, now being returned as surplus to requirements, have resulted in auction sites being crammed with late-year vans."


Used CV market - key trends
George Alexander highlights other key trends in the used CV market:

Used lightweight vans

  • With availability improving, those vans presented in an average or scruffy condition coupled with high mileage will see their prices weaken over the coming weeks.  The best vans on offer are assured a better reception.
  • To avoid disappointment, particularly at this time, those disposing of large van fleets should accurately assess the vehicle's condition and reassess their reserve price expectations.
  • Vauxhall's Astra is readily available on the open market at present with both the Envoy and LS models struggling unless presented in clean condition.  Even late-year examples of the Sportive models are currently under-performing, yet on a more positive note, the first new shape Club models have been met with high demand and strong prices.
  • Ford Connects continue to appear in high numbers and prices accordingly are starting to look vulnerable, especially the recent bout of examples without the appeal of a side-loading door.  At auction, low mileage T200s continue to make indicated Glass's Guide money.  Not popular at the moment is the T220 SWB, which struggles around the Guide Disposal mark, even when seemingly clean and tidy.
  • In recent weeks, despite still leading the pack, the appearance of more Volkswagen Caddy vans on the open market has seen their performance weakening for both SDi and TDi models.
  • Well-specified Citroën Berlingos and Peugeot Partners with sensible warranted miles still hit the right note with many buyers but prices slip when numbers rise.
  • For Renault Kangoo and Fiat Doblo vans to achieve Top Guide, only flawless condition will do; those lots with higher than average miles only sell to end-users.
  • Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert continue to perform strongly with clean, low-mileage examples regularly achieving Guide values.

Used panel vans

  • Perhaps surprisingly, buyers are still finding that it is hard work to locate the best late-year models and, when found, such desirable stock commands Guide Trade.
  • The appetite for higher-powered stock continues in the medium panel van sector, with the VW Transporter 104PS or 130PS models remaining the most sought after, with the entry 85PS model struggling by comparison.
  • Similarly, the Ford Transit 280 remains an attractive proposition with buyers paying Guide Trade to obtain any low mileage 100PS example.  This has led to some pressure on the smaller T260 85PS model with values moving sharply down.
  • Vauxhall Vivaro / Renault Trafic / Nissan Primastar models are preferred when offered in conjunction with the six-speed 100bhp engine.
  • The Mercedes-Benz Vito 109 struggles on the open market as buyers deem the 88bhp model to be underpowered.  It is at its best when offered at either 111bhp or 115bhp, although the high roof version is not to everyone's taste.
  • Toyota's HiAce retains a strong following, with the best from the Sevel trio also attracting substantial interest.  Whilst this might sound like a largely unchanged market situation, it must be acknowledged that prices have, and will, continue to move lower across the lightweight sectors.

Used heavyweights

  • As was to be expected, truck auctions were a little slow over the Christmas period and into early January, but normal service has now been resumed.  Dealers are now fairly upbeat in regard to prospects over the coming months.
  • Despite 7.5-tonners being plentiful, clean boxes, tippers and dropsiders, particularly those with longer bodies, have been making Guide Trade.  Older hard-used examples in all configurations do less well and sell closer to our Disposal values.
  • There continues to be relatively few 18-tonners doing the rounds, yet although the cleanest will perform strongly, trade buyers are becoming more selective with regard to condition and kilometres travelled, as this will greatly affect the sales prospects for that truck.
  • Well-presented three-axle boxes and curtainsiders attract significant attention and sell strongly, yet if the numbers were to increase, it is likely that the large price premium such stock enjoys over its two-axle stablemates would be slashed.
  • Any multi-axle flatbed equipped with a well-positioned and reputable crane will command a significant premium, as demand for such specialist stock seems insatiable.  Likewise, any tipper boasting a popular crane is good news and will attract especially strong money.           
  • Although the market's appetite for mediocre tractor units has slowed, there is still no shortage of interest for any nice high-powered, big cab model, particularly those from the big four manufacturers.
  • With operators craving ever more power, demand has spread to all marques with each enjoying healthy levels of sentiment from both domestic buyers and the export scene.
  • As customers for new chassis have become better educated in respect of the need to plan ahead and order early, this has delivered a dividend to the used market.
  • With the nicest de-fleeted heavies being at best only drip-fed into the marketplace, it has become easier for dealers to anticipate what is soon to arrive and how best to market it.  This can mean that a tractor unit, still at work with the first owner, has in effect been bought by a dealer and sold on to another fleet.  This approach could enable vendors of such attractive trucks, tippers and tractor units to readily achieve prices for their vehicles that were previously unattainable.  In turn, with Euro IV and V replacements costing considerably more, this helps to keep the cost of replacement down.
  • Additionally, with these latest trucks utilising green technologies and boasting high productivity and lower running costs, their residual values can be expected to rise, which creates something of a virtuous circle.  Hopefully, the bad times when sound trucks were a chore to sell, and poorer types virtually unsaleable, are now consigned to the past.

Used Trailers

  • Across the auction scene, early-year skeletal, flat and tipping trailers are being snapped up at prices, for the best-looking lots, that pepper Guide.
  • The cleanest, late-year boxes and curtainsiders still attract plenty of buyers but shorter length two-axle examples are not wanted, whilst for older types prices are in freefall.
  • At all ages, reefer trailers equipped with a reputable fridge unit in sound working order, attract plenty of takers.
  • Regardless of body type, all well-designed stepframe trailers in good condition will attract a significant premium.  However, the marketplace is still littered with a growing number of dilapidated trailers where even the export market is seemingly not keen to take them, at any price.