Van buyers struggle to ‘go large’ as market profile changes

Commercial vehicle buyers are purchasing more car-derived vans (CDVs) and small panel vans, due to a chronic lack of larger panel vans over 3.5 tonnes, according to the latest market analysis from Manheim.

While the headline price of used vans at auction has remained strong in May - rising by 9.2% over 12 months to £4,741 - the volume of smaller vans has increased by approximately 8%, while larger panel vans greater than 3 tonnes have decreased by 14%.

Looking at the market in more detail, the average price of a five year old CDV has remained strong in May at £3,435. This is a fall of just £64 from its April figure, despite a monthly rise in mileage from 70,128 in April to 71,205 in May.

Similarly, small panel vans saw a rise in selling price of 8.5% to £4,811 in May, due to a fall in average mileage from 87,925 to 78,908. The average age of this van niche remains at 68 months.

The traditional workhorse of the fleet - the large panel van - continues to rise in value at auction, fuelled by its relative scarcity in the halls.

Prices in May peaked at £5,297, prompted by continuing high demand for this type of vehicle and the fact that the average age fell from 62 to 61 months and mileage reduced from 86,062 to 84,510 month-on-month.

Matthew Davock, head of LCV at Manheim, said: "2014 has seen a continuation of the record levels of demand in the used van market. We have seen two months of significant year on year increases in van de-fleets; these vans have been snapped up by eager buyers looking to secure price range quality stock. .

"Interestingly, the mix of vans has changed over the past twelve months, with many more car-derived and small panels vans coming up for sale. Conversely, the lower volumes of larger panel vans we're seeing is, we believe, driving a shift in buyer behaviour toward smaller vehicles.

"Right now, buyers are behaving in a typical seasonal fashion; focusing their attention on the cleanest stock and being far more selective on higher mileage and damaged product.

"I encourage vendors to ensure this stock is presented in its best possible light, with mopping and improved valeting ensuring buyers see them in their best light.

"Sensible reserve setting will ensure realistic conversion rates and days in stock are achieved."

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