The LCV wholesale sector demonstrated a strong start to the year, according to Cox Automotive, with the highest volume of vans in five years passing through its auction and de-fleet networks. During January, 8,722 LCV units arrived through its Manheim Auction Services (MAS) and Manheim Vehicle Services (MVS) locations across the UK.
Increased wholesale volumes have been matched with a super-heated uptake of demand from buyers, with record demand witnessed in Manheim’s auction channels.
Matthew Davock, Director of Manheim Commercial Vehicles, Cox Automotive commented: “A positive and very busy start to January has certainly been evident with many fleet, lease, rental and finance LCV volumes showing noticeable increases. This surge can be attributed to several factors, not least a number of fleets de-fleeting much earlier than normal due to reduced vehicle utilisation over the Christmas period, and the arrival of new electric and diesel vans. This correlates with the positive new registrations reported by the SMMT this week, with 25.8% more registrations than January 2022 and electric vans showing a 50% increase versus year on year.
“Historically the van market wouldn’t usually take off until mid-January, but this year it’s been strong from day one, with 79% of vans selling first time in the first week of January, increasing to 83% by the close of the month – the strongest first-time conversion for 17 months.”
Surprising stock dynamics in store
As reported in Cox Automotive’s 2023 forecast (found within its latest automotive insight update, AutoFocus), wholesale van age and mileage dynamics are expected to play a significant role during the first half of this year. Vehicle age has increased to 70 months (or nearly six years of age) on average for the units sold. This represented a seven-month increase year on year, and 10-month increase on the last three-year auction averages. It was also the oldest stock profile ever seen for a January market period at Manheim.
Mileage dynamics and the de-fleeting of ‘pandemic worn condition’ vans was also evident during January. Average mileage hit the high heights of 80,448, representing a marginal increase year on year, but most noticeable, 42% of the catalogue entries were recorded at 128,000 miles on average, giving buyers and vendors stock dynamics they have never seen before. The sweet spot during the month for performance was the 3-5 year old categorisation, making up 37% of the overall volume and achieving 111% of guide values with average mileages being recorded at 66,000 miles.
Based on all the above key profile indicators, the average selling price of vans remained strong at £9,621; 43% of the stock being Euro 5 or older stock achieving £5,171 on average, and 57% being Euro 6 compliant used, achieving £12,788.
A robust Q1, but beware of market seasonality
The month concluded with the strongest performance for guides being achieved: vans making 5.2% more than in November and December 2022 used averages, and 41% of stock achieving in excess of guide valuations during the month
Davock added: “Wholesale LCV market is off to a flying start at Manheim and we predict this market will continue to show positive signs in Q1. That said, we always recommend being cautious of market seasonality, especially alongside the Euro 5 price alignment predicted for Q2 as more ULEZ and scrappage deal rollouts are planned to go live.”