February van values remain strong

Demand continued to keep values relatively firm in the used commercial vehicle market in February, according to British Car Auctions (BCA), despite volumes rising sharply. Average values fell by £76 (1.8%) in February while sold volumes increased by nearly 13% over the same period, following a near 50% increase between December and January. Average monthly values have broadly remained between £4,000 and £4,200 since summer 2010.

Duncan Ward BCA’s general manager – Commercial Vehicles commented: “Demand held up well in February following the strong start to the year. Overall the market seemed pretty confident, although there were patches when buyers seemed to turn off. There are still issues relating to poor stock mix resulting from an influx of vans from business failures and liquidations, often in poor condition or non-retail colours and with a low specification and that is likely to continue in the months ahead.”

Fleet & lease LCV values fell back by £186 (3.8%) to £4,599, effectively losing half the gains made in January when values climbed sharply. However, taken in the context of a market that saw sold volumes increase by some 18%, it is apparent that there is plenty of demand for stock. As with last month, year-on-year values are adrift (by £527 or 10.3%) as the market was reaching its peak a year ago.

“Although it is early days in the wake of the ’11’ plates, the corporate buyers have been active and we should expect to see de-fleet volumes ramp up and possibly some more price pressure in the fleet/lease used van sector” continued Ward.

“Retail new van business remains pretty flat so dealer part-exchange volumes are unlikely to increase sharply, and with continuing demand for budget vans it is likely prices will remain relatively firm in this sector. The low volumes of nearly-new vans remain highly desirable, of course, and anything with a retail specification or in a rare configuration can make exceptional money.”

Ward added “The overall economic picture remains fairly depressed, however, and small business confidence is reported as low. A recent survey found that nearly three-quarters of small businesses are unlikely to add to their workforce this year, while even more are concerned about access to bank lending to fund growth.”

He concluded “High fuel prices are contributing to the rising inflation, as well as the knock-on affect of rising costs across all areas of business. It means small businesses and solus traders are likely to be looking to reduce their costs going forward – considering these sectors are the biggest buyers of used vans this could have a significant impact on demand as the year rolls on.”

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