By Andy Picton, chief commercial vehicle editor at Glass's
September registration totals marked the first decline of 2019 for new Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), with total registrations falling 23.5% versus September 2018.
Breaking the month down by sectors reveals growth for Vans under 2.0 tonnes of 12.3%, and Vans between 2.0-2.5 tonnes (16.8%), whilst the Pickup sector and Vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes declined by 18.8% and 35.2% respectively.
September 2019 saw the launch of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and it appears that this has effected registrations due to vehicle availability.
In a regular month, over 60% of registrations occur in the 2.5-3.5 tonne sector, in September 2019 this reduced to 54%.
The lack of available WLTP compliant LCVs, especially chassis conversions, is having an adverse effect.
Nevertheless, the LCV market remains healthy with year to date (YTD) registrations standing at 286,616.
This equates to a 4.5% increase on the same period last year, with buyers continuing to seek out the cleanest vehicles and the best deals on pre-WLTP stock.
Top five LCV registrations
Following predictions, many buyers have taken advantage of strong offers on LCVs during the first three quarters of the year ahead of regulatory changes resulting in increasing prices for WLTP compliant vehicles.
However, many buyers remain reluctant to change vehicles with ongoing political and economic uncertainty continuing to influence business confidence.
Used Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Auction Market Overview - September
In what should be a buoyant buying period, the September wholesale market was subdued.
Compounded by significant volumes of duplicate vehicles available across all segments, buyers are in no a rush to increase stock levels whilst the economic and political uncertainty continues.
September stock sales are on average, 1.6 months older than twelve months ago, at 65.5 months, but 1.6 months younger than last month.
Average mileage is 72,600 miles, a decrease of 2,070 miles on last September, but near unmoved on August.
The average sale price for the month increased by over £200 on August but was down over £250 on September 2018.
Overall, September sales volumes declined 8.9% on August and stand 14.6% behind September last year.
Of the vehicles sold, average first-time conversion rates increased by 1.9% to 79.0.
These changes highlight the volatility in the market and the general caution of the buyer.
Small Vans: 33.8% of overall sales
The Berlingo, Combo, Caddy and Transit Connect represent the largest volumes of sold vehicles.
Although volumes sold during September were down nearly 11% on August, average prices were up over 4%.
Sold stock was 5 months younger, whilst average mileage was over 400 miles higher than in August.
Strongest performances during the month were for the Peugeot Partner, the Renault Kangoo and the Ford Transit Connect where average prices all increased over the previous month.
The Nissan eNV200 returned a near 12% increase in prices over the month, proving demand for battery powered LCVs continues to grow.
All other ranges returned reductions in average prices.
Medium Vans: 33.6% of overall sales
September proved to be a positive month for Medium Vans.
Although volumes sold decreased by 175 units versus August, first time conversion rates improved by 1.0% to 81.5%.
Sale prices also saw an improvement of over 2.0% with an average prices exceeding £7,000.
Transporter, Transit Custom, Trafic, Vivaro and Dispatch proved to be the volume sellers during the month, with only Vauxhall and Volkswagen returning average price increases.
Large Vans: 18.3% of overall sales
Following Medium Van positivity, Large Panel volumes sold were down by nearly 6.0% on August, with first time conversion rates improving by 0.5% to 78.9%.
As with the Medium Van sector, sale prices also saw improvement, this time by over 6.25% with average prices exceeding £6,600.
The Transit and Sprinter made up nearly 60% of all sales in this sector, with average sale prices increasing by £450 on August.
Somewhat surprisingly, no range returned an average price increase during September.
4x4 Pickups: 13.1% of overall sales
Demand for 4x4 Pickups fell for the third month in a row, this time by over 130 units.
Improvements to September stock quality saw average mileage decreasing 2,500 miles and average age reducing 3.9 months, driving average sale prices to improve by 6.25% and now stand just short of £10,000.
Although sales of the L200 and Navara reduced nearly 12% during the month, they still made up over 50% of all sales.
The Amarok continues to sell when condition and miles are right with September prices improving by over 9%.
Buyers continue to seek higher specification Defenders, with the best XS and special edition models continuing to sell for exceptional prices.