New registrations spike drives used LCVs to auction in February

Matthew Davock, director of commercial vehicles at Cox Automotive

A record number of used commercial vehicles have passed through Cox Automotive’s auction and de-fleet networks in the last month.

A 6% year-on-year increase in wholesale volumes sold is explained by super-heated buyer demand. Manheim's auction channels witnessed record demand, with 84% selling first time (18% stronger than February 2022), a +1.2% increase on January’s performance. 

New van registrations were 8.5% up in February, delivering the month's best performance since 1998.

Matthew Davock, director of Commercial Vehicles at Manheim Auction Services, said: “After a very busy and enthusiastic start to 2023, February did not disappoint.

“We’ve seen significant year-on-year volume increases throughout our fleet, lease, rental and finance portfolios. This surge aligns with the positive spike in new registrations; February was the strongest period since 1998 and an 8.5% increase versus February 2022.

“This is welcome news for the used market as it means the LCV assets that fleet operators have been hanging on to are now finally starting to be de-fleeted and pushed into the wholesale market channels.”

During the first nine weeks of 2023, Cox Automotive reports that 17,660 LCV units arrived through its Manheim Auction Services (MAS) and Manheim Vehicle Services (MVS) locations across the UK. 

Wholesale van age and mileage dynamics are expected to play a significant role during the first half of this year, according to Cox Automotive.

It said February saw the oldest age profile on record, with vehicle age increasing to 75 months (six plus years of age). Sold stock by the company was five months older when compared to January 23 and 13 months older when compared to February 22.

Mileage dynamics and the de-fleeting of ‘pandemic worn condition’ vans were again evident during February. Average mileage hit 81,132, representing a marginal increase v January 23, but most noticeable, half of the vans entered into sale showed an average mileage of 129,616 miles. The performance “sweet spot” during the month was the 3–5-year-old category, which made up 32% of overall volume and achieved 109% of guide values on average. These vehicles had an average recorded mileage of 69,103 miles.

The average selling price across all vehicle categories remained strong at £9,107. Euro 5 or older represented two-fifths of the stock sold and achieved £4,499 on average, a 4.42% increase on guide values verses January, while Euro 6 compliant vans – representing 60% of stock sold - achieved an average hammer price of £12,165, a 0.57% improvement again against January’s price guide performance.

Davock added: “Buyer feedback gathered during late February makes it clear that this has been the strongest start to a year for some considerable time, with eight out of ten reporting overall consumer demand and health is much more positive. Overall buyer numbers at our auction events have been incredibly strong, with 18% more buyers being actively present vs year on year and catalogue views hitting the dizzy heights of 3,682 views per auction event for the month.”

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