Used van values keep climbing but buyer confidence is fragile

USED light commercial vehicle values improved across the board for the second month running in May, rising by £99 (2.3%) compared to April to reach £4,370, according to data from auction giant BCA.


Average age (56.82 months) and mileage (77,334) fell slightly month on month, whileCAPperformance declined by nearly a point to 98.19%. There was a marginal increase in fleet and lease values, while part-exchange values reached record levels.


Year-on-year, May 2012 was £152 (3.6%) ahead of the same month in 2011, despite the average age climbing by six months and average mileage increasing by 6,300 miles.  Performance againstCAPalso improved year-on-year, up by more than two points.


Average values have been relatively higher since last September and reached a 20-month peak in January. May saw values rise in all three sectors – fleet and lease, dealer part-exchange and nearly new – but supply and demand remains finely balanced.


Duncan Ward BCA’s general manager – commercial vehicles, said: ‘There is steady demand for the best examples in the wholesale arena, but sellers need to be aware that buyer confidence is quite fragile despite the relative shortage of stock.


‘Buyers are sensitive to mileage and condition, and excessive mileage or damage will significantly impact the price performance. The best prices are paid for vans in good colours with a high specification and any rare or unusual vehicles will generate the most attention.


‘Sellers also need to manage the supply of similar makes and models, because it can have a direct impact on price performance – even for attractive retail-quality vans.’


Ward added: ‘Now is the time for volume sellers to really get back to basics and ensure their vans are given the best opportunity to sell the first time they are offered.


‘This means full documentation and service histories for vehicles being sold, pre-sale preparation and presentation, valuing stock in line with market sentiment and effective sale day representation to make swift decisions on provisional sales. Make it an easy choice for buyers to purchase your vans.’


Values remained virtually static in the fleet and lease LCV sector in May, rising by just £5 compared to April to £5,113.  Performance againstCAPdropped by a point to 98.1% over the month, while retained value against manufacturer recommended price over 44 months and 70,000 miles was 32.76%, up slightly on last month.


Looking at the year-on-year figures, however, shows there has been a significant value evolution across the fleet and lease sector. May 2012 was £442 (9.4%) ahead of the same month last year – despite the average van being nearly three months older and with 4,000 more miles on the clock this year. Values are now £2,100 ahead of the market nadir recorded in December 2008, equivalent to a near 70% uplift.


Part-exchange values improved by £165 (5.9%) in May, the biggest month-on-month increase since September of last year and the second month running that values have climbed. The May average of £2,924 is the highest ever recorded in the LCV part-exchange sector. Despite this,CAPcomparisons dropped marginally to 98% from 98.2%.


Again the year-on-year comparisons underline the value evolution in the LCV sector.  Values for part-exchange vans were ahead by £465 (18.9%) in May – a similar uplift to that seen last month and a reflection on the demand for ‘budget’ priced vans, particularly from sole traders and new small business start-ups. Part-exchange values have also risen by nearly 70% from the market low-point of £1,728 recorded in December 2008.


Nearly-new values rose by £671 (up 5.8%) to £12,059. As always, that has to be taken in the context of the very low volumes reaching the market and the model mix factor. CAPperformance fell by nearly half a point to 100.52%.

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