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Used van market smashes all pre-recession records, says Manheim

Analysis from the remarketing giant's commercial vehicle team shows that, despite vans being an average of nine months older with 12,000 more miles on the clock, buyers in auction halls and online in 2014 are having to bid an average of 45%, or £1,500, more than they would back in 2006 to secure them.

Looking at the analysis in more detail highlights the extraordinary performance of the three main volume van segments; namely, the large panel van, the small panel van and the car-derived van. Over the past eight years, all three van types have seen growth in average selling price of anywhere between 20% and 50%. This is a remarkable statistic, says Manheim, as it highlights the current market value of used vans with a period when the UK economy was acknowledged as performing at its very strongest with 2007's record new van registrations.

To illustrate the point, Manheim offer the example of the large panel van, which saw its average age increase by six months (from 54 to 60) and its mileage rise by 8,000 miles (from 93,000 to 101,000) during the period of quarter 1, 2006 to quarter 1, 2014. Despite these rises in age and mileage, this van sector saw its used value rocket by 42% (£1,470) over the eight year period.

Similarly, the car-derived van also saw a rise in age of half a year to 58 months and an additional 12,000 miles on the clock. Demand for this price range of van is obviously strong, as values rose over this period by a staggering 59%, an increase in value of £1,272.

Lastly, the small panel van saw a significant hike in age from 41 to 68, a rise of 27 months, as well as 4,000 more miles on the clock. Not only reaching maturity over the last eight years, this van segment is now older than its larger (over 3.5t) panel van cousin. Average annual mileage is considerably lower for this niche and reflects deferred disposals from authority and utility sources. Despite this, average selling price rose by 20% or £584 over the eight year period.

James Davis, head of commercial vehicles at Manheim, said: ‘The latest 2014 SMMT forecasts are predicting we'll smash the 300,000 new van registration barrier for the first time since 2007. 2014 has seen a record number of new vans launched; more than in 2006 when the record was last set. The historic market performance we've revealed with this analysis speaks for itself. There can be no doubt that we're experiencing record average selling prices.

‘The recession has tested the resilience of the used van market. It's unbreakable. It's robust. Of course vans are more expensive to buy new than they were in 2006. As an indirect consequence of extended replacement cycles, operators have been rewarded with higher net returns and are seeing the benefit of the increased reliability of modern vans.

‘The only destabilising market factor will be a significant increase in supply over an extended period; yet there are few signs that de-fleet volumes will track this way over the next 12 to 18 months. Instead I believe it more likely that we'll see a steady increase due to both economic recovery and new registration growth. This, combined with a corresponding reduction in the number of extended vans, will see average age fall. Given the last 8 years these two may even balance each other out resulting in the average selling price remaining at the current levels.’

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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