Following the trend set over recent months, commercial vehicle registrations again grew strongly in July. Figures released by the SMMT confirmed that there was growth of 16.4% for LCVs with a whopping 41.5% uplift recorded for trucks. Even more impressively the year-to-date position for light and heavy commercial vehicles has improved by 19.8% and 40.6% respectively. Over the first half of 2015 a total of 209,515 commercial vehicles were registered. This represented an uplift of 21.8% over the comparable figure posted in 2014 with growth recorded all the way up to 44 tonnes.
Across the auction scene, LCV numbers are standing uncomfortably high for the time of year. Over recent weeks, as the summer lull set in, some of the bigger sites were typically offering around 400 LCV lots which on occasion was challenging. Interestingly, on-line auction business has remained steady and might be proving itself to be less prone to fluctuation than physical auctions. However, whatever the format, top money continues to be paid for anything with warranted low miles, higher horsepower and/or the best level of specification. Crew vans and any rare derivative types on quality chassis achieve strong prices but full service history is a prerequisite. A less encouraging trend is that, although still proving saleable, older stock is now drawing significantly less money.
Those retailing LCVs have reported that despite business being patchy, locating the right stock remains challenging with the need to pay out more cash than they feel comfortable with. Another issue they comment on is that vendors are displaying less attention to vehicle preparation which is not helping matters. Increasingly, high mileage is avoided though any LCVs warranted as having covered less than 50k are considered to be good retail stock. Therefore, with average LCV mileage at auction remaining stubbornly above 80,000 miles vendors are having to lower reserves.
Nemo/Bipper/Fiorino vans, especially those boasting the higher trim levels remain popular commanding Trade money with ease. Old stalwarts such as Corsa, Fiesta and Astra are also finding new homes at prices that pepper the Guide. Unfortunately, current examples of Doblo and Combo rarely attract an enthusiastic reception at auction with their prices equating to our Disposal figure. In comparison, previous shape Combo and Doblo are perceived as a good value for money van and still have plenty of fans. Berlingo and Partner continue in fine fettle with the secret of their success being that both trade and retail buyers fully appreciate their merits and are comfortable with the money they must pay for nice examples.
Elsewhere, the performance of Renault's Kangoo continues to disappoint as it struggles to find any firm foothold that will bolster its fortunes. However, when mint condition vans supported by FSH and low miles become available there are plenty of takers. By contrast, the Maxi version remains in favour within trade circles at prices that are in line with Guide values and when a clean Maxi crew van becomes available it gains an even wider audience.
Unsurprisingly, from the VW stable the highest specced Caddy and Maxi models return most cash with some of the less well equipped vans underperforming. The exception being at early year, where all clean and tidy low budget stock, both with and without VAT attached return prices to Guide Trade. With there currently being a good number of Caddys washing through the auctions, those that have emanated from rental sources perform least well. At all years, power ratings and trim levels, tidy examples of Ford's Connect are in demand with the best presented T200s leading the way. Unsurprisingly, the strongest sentiment is reserved for new shape Connects that are starting to give VW's Caddy a run for its money. Here 200 1.6TDCi 115ps Limited L1 H1 examples on 1464 plates set the pace and sell to our Top Condition Trade with ease.
The number of 4x4s on offer has remained stable, though there's now a better selection of low and high specced types for buyers to choose from. Of what's on offer, late year Rangers and Amaroks perform best at prices to Top Guide although Isuzu's D-Max, especially the rare Eiger is also held in high esteem. Toyota's once all conquering HiLux continues to receive mixed sentiment but mid-range Hilux HL3s are fewer on the ground and perform well when boasting extra equipment and a canopy. Disappointingly, of the few Invincibles to have been seen of late, only those with leather, reversing camera, auto gearbox and canopy have rung the bell.
Despite L200s and Navaras being seen in high numbers, Outlaw and Acenta models have been catching the buyer's eye and selling to Glass's Trade without difficulty. At the premium end of things, the Barbarian has performed in fits and starts with condition and colour having to be right before anything like Guide money is paid with those having mileage above 40k missing the target. From Nissan's camp, some Navaras have lost their sparkle, with the Tekna now looking tired and directionless. The old Aventura of 2006-07 vintage with automatic transmission receives most interest and is seen as providing better value for money than the Tekna. Due to their exceptionally short supply from all marques, workhorse variants continue to buck the overall trend with Ranger XLT in particular seemingly unable to do any wrong. Likewise, well-presented Hilux HL2 with low miles are in vogue while L200 4Works find the going to be tougher.
The slow weeks of summer tend to mark a seasonal low point for Land Rovers' commercial products though the prices paid to secure all clean, well-specced examples race to Guide Trade and in some instances higher. Defender 90 and 110 Hard Tops consistently produce positive results with County and XS variants, especially when it's a station wagon, being highly prized.
USED PANEL VANS
Currently, clean vans from Dispatch/Expert/Scudo through iLoad to Toyota's revered Hiace appear to still be able to gain interest from trade buyers at pretty much any age or condition. Vivaros, Trafics and Primastars are currently available in steady numbers, yet most sell to Guide with even those numerous poorer fleet examples on 2005-07 plates having no difficulty in finding new homes. 2011-12 plate examples with sensible miles perform best whilst late year short term rental stock can struggle.
Transit T280s continue to perform strongly with the last to be registered retaining a loyal following. There are quite a few 2011-13 plated ex-rental T260 and T280s to be seen at auction with the majority selling close to Guide Trade. It is medium roof Trends and Limiteds on both SWB and MWB that are setting the pace at the moment, but all good examples of these last generation Transits encounter a healthy level of demand as the supply wanes. For the Transit Custom there are two scenarios to ponder over. Base vans in solid colours and ECOnetic 100ps models have lost some of their appeal within the trade although their prices remain to Guide. At the other end of the scale, Trends and Limiteds gain heaps of attention from both the trade and retail buyer with the 125ps L2s being most popular.
Of late, as there's simply too much choice available for the T5 to continue defying gravity, low powered, basic Transporters have not been reaching the previous highs we had all come to expect. One aspect that hasn't changed is that additional premiums are still paid for those T5s with most bhp and higher specifications that will sometimes surpass our Top Condition values. Likewise, Kombis continue to receive huge premiums as end-users actively seek out each and every Trendline or Highline.
At 3.5 tonnes, with high demand meeting low supply, the best large panel vans are on a high. From the leading marques, there are few late platers to be found with the last of the ‘previous' Transits selling effortlessly to figures that rival what it's all new replacement command. At late year, clean Relays, Ducatos, Boxers, Masters, Movanos and Daily are all popular, yet when hard used early stock appears, returns fall back sharply. Sprinter 313 long high roofs up to three years old sell to Guide with ease, but the higher mileages often associated with M-B's finest is becoming a problem. As there are not that many tidy previous shape Sprinters to found, those that do materialise receive plenty of attention from both trade and retail buyers and are quickly snapped up.
As clean tippers, dropsiders and lutons remain in especially short supply, just about everything that is capable of being put to work flies away with vendors able to name their price. At this time of year, tidy minibuses find themselves in high demand as those needing to carry people to social or sporting venues seek out all suitable used stock. In the executive minibus market, irrespective of VW's Caravelle and Shuttle continuing to take top honours, newer contenders such as Ford's Custom Tourneo and M-B's exceptionally nice Vito are relentlessly closing the gap.