While car derived vans made up 39% of auction sales in August and saw year-on-year increases of 16.5% (rising from £2,881 to £3,358) in the past year; small panel vans, comprising 21% of August sales, saw average values rise by 19% (£3,825 to £4,556) over the same period. Even more notably, the average value of 4×4 vehicles at auction in August jumped from £7,084 in July to £7,743, a time that usually see quieter sales due to seasonality.
Commenting on the findings, Matthew Davock, head of light commercial vehicles at Manheim, said: ‘We've seen a real spike in 4×4 sales this August, at a time when summer breaks and bank holidays usually hold back demand. Our data shows that trade buyers have possibly been tempted to stock up earlier than normal for autumn sales, given the changing seasons and the fact that we've tended to see lower mileage, younger vehicles entering the halls.
‘On a wider note, strong 4×4 sales could also be explained by the recent pick-up in activity in the construction sector and the far more attractive model specs that are now coming into the used market. Once seen as utility vehicles, many more 4x4s with leather trim, satnav and load covers are becoming far more widely adopted for domestic or even family use.’
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2014, Davock believes we are likely to see a positive used van market, with strong prices continuing to be achieved at auction into the winter months. 'Moving into autumn, stock numbers are reducing and from this, conversions and demand will increase accordingly,' he said.
‘Our monthly Market Analysis is beginning to reflect the fact that defleet activity is finally returning to normality after several years of post-recession contraction. It is good to see that younger vans – those aged five years or younger – now make up a larger proportion of vehicles at auction.'
Davock also explained that online bidding is playing a more important role in the van auction market. He said: 'While we've perhaps seen slower footfall in some halls during the summer, we are definitely seeing more buyers using our Simulcast technology to bid online. I have even seen instances where some of our top buyers – keen to snap up late, low vehicles – are bidding for vans while on holiday!'
Latest figures from the SMMT also show a positive trend in the van market, with registrations up 22.3% in August ahead of the 63-plate change.