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High-mileage stock drives used van dealers back to physical auctions

Vans LCVs stock image

Used van dealers are returning to auction halls to inspect higher mileage and older vehicles prior to bidding.

While new van supply continues to be restricted, the age and mileage of vehicles entering the used market is higher.

Buyers are opting to attend physical auctions to buy them, according to Shoreham Vehicle Auctions (SVA).

Generally higher ages and mileages are accompanied by more damage and any NAMA grade 3, 4 and 5 vans are receiving careful inspection in person before a buyer will decide whether they can afford to repair the vehicle and sell it at a profit.

Typically, these vans are receiving fewer bids in an ‘online only’ environment and which is why SVA’s MD Alex Wright believes more buyers are now back in the auction halls.

“Typically, we are seeing more higher mileage vans coming into the market and buyers are having to inspect them at close quarters before making a bid, especially as prices are still high. Based on our 2022 LCV sales the market has definitely cooled down from 2021 and prices may have reached a ceiling,” explained Wright.

“However, the global shortage of new vehicles is helping keep demand strong which gives the market stability against the backdrop of an ever-changing economy,” he added.

Sales of new light commercial vehicles in March were down 27.6% year-on-year as supplies of large and medium panel vans continue to be constrained.

Registrations of large vans, which represent more than two thirds of the new LCV market, totalled 29,230 units, down 18.9% or 6,802 units on March last year.

Wright said rental companies are still buying used LCVs and cars at auction to meet their needs, especially those who were in previous buy back deals with manufacturers which have now been scrapped.

“Our Tuesday LCV sales have been vibrant with buyers which is good to see. Buyer numbers are certainly back to where they were pre-pandemic and when our economy is continually changing dealers want to see what is happening at auction for themselves. Online bidding has been such an important part of the remarketing industry, but nothing replaces the power of buyers being able to physically inspect an older vehicle before it goes under the hammer,” added Wright.

According to BCA, used LCV values averaged 96.5% of guide price across the board during April, compared to 101.2% the previous month and 106.5% a year ago in March 2021.

Average prices for used LCVs at auction rose above £10,000 for the first time in July last year and have remained high due to a shortage of stock.

Values stood at £10,133 at BCA in March, the fourth consecutive month that average values have exceeded £10,000 and the third highest monthly value ever recorded. 

Year-on-year values for March 2022 were ahead by £680 (7.2%) compared to March 2021 when the third UK lockdown restrictions were beginning to ease. 

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