04 Sep 2007
Weather woes increase sales for commercial vehicles
According to EurotaxGlass's, the prolonged spells of heavy rainfall experienced in many part of the UK this summer have contributed to an overall increase in sales of commercial vehicles. "As a direct result of the exceptionally wet weather, more new and used commercial vehicle sales have been generated over the past four months than would typically have been expected," comments George Alexander, Chief Commercial Vehicle Editor at EurotaxGlass's.
"If any vehicle suffers damage following a flood it will be subject to an insurance claim and probably rapid replacement. Where roads and fields were flooded, some owners will have seriously considered acquiring a more rugged commercial vehicle to cope with such conditions. Here, we have already seen a market improvement for double-cabbed 4x4s following an earlier period of price instability."
Not all dealers have benefited, explains Alexander. "There were winners and losers amongst neighbouring dealers. As with the flooding itself, the consequences for dealers in either benefiting or suffering from the aftermath was extremely localised. Put simply, if it was their customer who suffered the loss or decided to change or expand his business as a direct result, then that dealer was quids in."
Any positive implications of the recent inclement weather conditions are likely to be short lived. "The improvement in sales activity is unlikely to have any lasting effect on values, as used prices for nearly all popular commercial vehicles were already pushing hard on the ceiling imposed by discounted prices on new. What this unexpected and extremely localised blip has done is to soak up any additional used stock that would have appeared during what is traditionally a slow sales period."
Used CV market - key trends
George Alexander highlights other key trends in the used CV market:
Used lightweight vans
- Of the car-derived vans, it is Ford's Fiesta that is in greatest demand, although models such as Renault's Clio and Citroen's C2 Enterprise still generate good returns.
- There seems to be no limit to the positive trade sentiment attached to nice examples of Vauxhall's Corsa, particularly those with the latest common rail engine. The Vauxhall Combo performs poorly when offered in volume from one source, although late-year 1.3CDTi examples - preferably with side loading doors - are seen in a far more positive light.
- Demand is growing for any straight and clean LPG-powered Vauxhall Combo, Ford Escort, Ford Courier or Citroën Berlingo which, if offered with sensible mileage, will sell for diesel money.
- The numbers of Fiat Doblo, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Renault Kangoo vans at auction are currently running a shade ahead of demand. This oversupply ensures that even lots with sensible mileage struggle to get bids much above Guide Disposal levels. Each of these models achieves better results if equipped with a side loading door and ply lining.
- Vauxhall Astravans and Ford T200/T220 SWB Connects are currently performing well yet again, although high volumes can prove to be their undoing as buyers cherry-pick the best and ignore any poor examples.
- Likewise, with higher numbers coming through, Volkswagen's SDI Caddy has started to slip back from previously dizzy heights. The TDI 104PS Caddy remains the preferred choice, with the price gap growing over the SDI option.
- Demand remains steady for nice examples of Citroën's Dispatch, Fiat's Scudo and Peugeot's Expert up to four years old with documentation.
Used panel vans
- At auction, supply and demand for sound condition panel vans at all years is well matched, with hard-used older lots even finding some support.
- Although only few in number, any 'sporty' versions of a medium-sized panel van attracts a great deal of both trade and retail interest.
- As seen over many months, the smaller Japanese and Scudo-style vans all achieve indicated Glass's Guide prices when well presented with low warranted miles.
- There is healthy demand for examples of Ford's Transit, with dealers snapping up the best examples of late-year SWB 260 and 280, particularly the 100PS or 125PS models.
- It's the higher horsepower variants of Vauxhall's Vivaro, Renault's Trafic and Nissan's Primastar that the trade continues to find most attractive. We recently witnessed the sale of a selection of 2004 '04-plated low mileage short and low 81bhp Vivaros formerly used as satellite TV installation vans. They had originally been 'wrapped' and were revealed in an attractive metallic blue. The wrapping had done its job and, coupled to sensible mileages, achieved Top Glass's Guide levels.
- Manageable numbers of late-year Volkswagen T5 Transporters and Mercedes-Benz Vitos are met with a high level of interest from both trade and retail buyers, ensuring that impressive prices are paid for the best examples.
- A shortage of prime stock has placed a price premium on all good used 3.5-tonners, although the main topic of conversation for franchised dealers revolves around what some believe to be excessive lead times for delivery on new. This leaves their existing customers to choose between joining a long queue or to change allegiance to a marque that can deliver.
- Dealers comment that the best used stock, such as any late-year Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, will spend little more than 24 hours on the forecourt before being snapped up, at which point it is very difficult to locate replacement stock. The picture is similar for Ford Transits and Volkswagen Crafters.
- However, some punters who previously wanted only premier league brands are now happy to opt for any well-presented, reasonably powered 3.5-tonner. For example, models such as Renault's Master are considered to be a sound alternative, particularly when late-year vans come from a good source.
- Recently, examples of popular panel vans that have been converted to run on LPG that boast low miles have been proving popular, with the best late-plate stock achieving diesel money or better. However, at around five years of age with heavy mileage and in poor condition, prices fall to petrol levels.
- Dealers report that, whilst the pace slowed in August, the underlying demand is still firm and they are confident that prices for good, retailable chassis will remain at, or close to, current levels over the coming weeks.
- Within this upbeat sentiment individual dealers note highs and lows that cause them some concerns. One worry is that, whilst older stock had previously been attracting healthy prices, it is now becoming less popular. They reason that, with export markets tightening up the rules on what they will accept, prices for such vehicles will need to fall back.
- However, it would be fair to say that business for mid-year stock is generally settled and whilst the back end is patchy, late-year sales sentiment is bullish.