Used van demand hits 16 month peak

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There was an “unseasonably strong” demand for used vans during August, according to vehicle auction company British Car Auctions (BCA).

Motor retailers were also willing to pay more with the average used LCV values across the board up by five per cent to £3,745, the highest point since April 2008.

Year on year values are also ahead by more than £500.

Average fleet and lease van values improved by 5.2 per cent in July reaching £4,045, while dealer-entered part exchange stock rose by 7.5 per cent and follows nine per cent rise in July.

Nearly new values recovered from a sharp fall last month by over £1,000 to hit £9,034.

The report suggests that as September values traditionally represent a peak in the annual cycle that commercial vehicle values could climb again, following a period of five months when they remained static.

The news comes just a few weeks after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported a 34.6 per cent drop in van registrations during August to 7, 531.

Duncan Ward, BCA’s general manager commercial sales, said: “As the price rise has occurred in a month that usually records weaker prices, this could yet mark a significant point in the price recovery for LCVs.

“If such a rise had occurred in September, it would have been equally welcomed by vendors, but much less notable. It remains to be seen if the market is going to march on into the autumn months and perhaps consistently register values to compare with the market highpoint in early 2008.”

The BCA has attributed this rise to a number of factors. Ward added: “August proved to be a remarkably strong month for LCV sales and certainly outperformed the customary summer holiday season market.

“Supplies of good retail quality vans are relatively limited and buyers are bidding strongly for the best examples – particularly from the fleet sector where competition is intense.  And this is certainly likely to have contributed to the rise in prices. 

“Motor retailers who would usually buy stock exclusively from the fleet sector are having to look further afield and are bidding on younger or older vehicles to stock their forecourts.

“The increase in demand could also be put down to renewed confidence amongst organisations to fund replacement vehicles, perhaps buoyed by improvements in their own business prospects. Alongside other cautious indicators of a move out of the recession, such as the CBI report last week, we feel this is a further positive sign for the UK economy.”

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