With new vehicle sales slow to recover, it believes the value and choice offered in the used van arena presents an interesting opportunity.
“In 2011 the used van market has performed beyond expectations. Values remain stable but this must be seen in the light of a year-on-year volume increases of 30%,” explains James Davis, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Manheim Remarketing.
“This volume spike has been driven by consolidation in the daily rental sector and other industries. The good news is that these vehicles are, in the main, the right specification, badge and in good condition. There has been some model duplication which, when combined with higher mileage and levels of damage, requires the setting of realistic initial reserve prices to ensure a swift sale.”
Manheim reports that demand from physical and online buyers in Q1 remained strong with buyers having to travel further, or to log onto more ‘Simulcasted’ sales, in order to secure the necessary stock.
“Late plate, nearly new vans are keenly fought over, with buyers recognising the value they offer compared with new vehicles,” says Davis.
“These low mileage vans offer a considerable saving when compared with list price, with the added bonus of immediate availability as they are not subject to manufacturer lead times. Small volume segments, such as Lutons and Tippers, are strong performers and an increasing number of utility fleets are replacing vehicles so there is a healthy level of older vehicles catering for a variety of budgets. Anything a little different with additional specification is, due to its rarity, capable of making significantly over the guide price.”
Manheim reports that the 4x4 segment is under pressure as it emerges from what is traditionally its seasonally strong winter period. Fleet spec workhorse 4x4s are a far tougher challenge than earlier in the year, especially when damaged. There is an export market for specific models.
However the late plate, nearly new vehicles are under greatest pressure, specifically when considering the significant wholesale volumes as well as model replacement and discount activity in the new vehicle market.
In some cases, traders are hesitant to bid as they are concerned about the impact this wholesale volume will have on values and hence on their own stock.
Davis says: “2010 saw a return to traditional ‘seasonality’ – a relatively strong market at the beginning of the year that begins to soften as Easter approaches, remaining stable until September/October when it picks up before softening again in the approach to Christmas.
“In 2011, the forthcoming Easter weekend followed immediately by the Royal Wedding and Bank Holiday may result in a longer seasonal softening than is usual at this time of year. In these circumstances, conversion rates typically fall back as trade buyers see their own retail sales slow and will often only re-stock selectively to fill gaps or to fulfil pre-sold orders. They tend to steer away from vans requiring major rework as turnaround times can often mean they lose a retail enquiry.
“The volume of vans in the wholesale market is expected to decrease towards the end of the year. In 2012 and beyond we will start to see a wholesale van volume shortfall as a result of the decline in new registrations in 2008 as the worldwide economic downturn began.
"New van registrations fell around 40% so this used van ‘stock gap’ is now just around the corner. With demand expected to increase as the economy recovers, a reduction in supply will serve to place upward pressure on used van values.”
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