Demand for new Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) in April increased 4.7% versus April 2018 with 24,604 new registrations. Demand for lower emissions aided by attractive market incentives appears to be driving the demand as the market returned increases of 8.8% in the under 2.0 tonne sector and 6.9% in the 2.5-3.5 tonne sector. Offsetting some of these increases was a 1.4% decline in pickup registrations during April.
This completed a positive first third of 2019, with year to date (YTD) registrations of new LCVs standing at 127,347, in increase of 8.0% on the same period in 2018.
Top five LCV registrations
The introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) for LCVs in September is creating an interesting dynamic in the new market. As manufacturers work towards the September deadline, current Euro 6 deals are multiplying as dealers prepare to clear older stock in preparation for the roll out of the WLTP compliant versions. However, with supply constraints a possibility, buyers choosing to wait for WLTP compliant engines may have to wait longer to secure the newest vehicles.
At auction, there is a growing price gap between quality ready to retail vans and tired, damaged vans. Some vendors report conversion rates as low as 50%, meaning the poorest stock is difficult to sell. With growing stock availability, auction companies are planning additional sales across the country to help combat this issue.
Whilst the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London raises awareness of Euro 6 product, buyers are still unwilling to pay the premium prices set by vendors. Currently, most buyers remain happy trading in Euro 5 stock.
Small Vans - 31% of overall sales
In the small van segment, 75% of all sales in April were over 4 years old. In this age range, ex-utility examples of Caddy, Combo and Doblo proved good value for money with tidy examples of Kangoo and previous generation Transit Connect also selling well. Later plate Fiesta Sport continues to drive strong performance, whilst prices hold steady for high specification vans with sensible miles. Whereas prices for the Fiesta Van ECOnetic and base specification Berlingo were a little off the pace.
Medium Vans - 36% of overall sales
As with the small van segment, the best presented and higher specification examples achieved the strongest prices, especially the Transit Custom and Transporter. Crew vans are extremely popular and generate good prices for vendors selling versions from Volkswagen, Ford, Renault and Vauxhall whilst panel van stock with air-conditioning continues to attract the most attention especially from convertors. Auction buyers keen for value vans see the Transit 280 SWB as prime stock, along with older examples of Dispatch and Vivaro with sales of stock over 4 years old accounting for over 60% of sales in this segment last month.
Large Vans - 19% of overall sales
Poor condition and high miles tend to blight prices in this segment. In good condition, current generation Transit receives significant attention from auction buyers, with the cleanest examples of FWD 290 L2H2 and both FWD and RWD 350 L3H2 in demand. Even in the large van segment, versions in metallic colours drive higher prices with vans in silver and black sought after. Prices for short and medium wheelbase vans are also holding steady. Buyer demand continues for dropside and tipper stock of all ages, although buyers of crew cab variants expect the rear bench seats to be in situ if prices are to be maximised. Rarity at van auction continues to drive demand, in the large van segment uncommon examples of curtainsiders or caged tippers attract buyer attention delivering solid prices.
4x4 Pickups - 14% of overall sales
Under 7% of sales in this segment was for less than 2 years old stock.
Stock availability remains high coupled to unrealistic vendor price expectations continue to result in limited sales success. Over-supply of most models is seeing high specification L200 Barbarian, Navara Tekna, Amarok Highline and Ranger Wildtrak underperform unless fitted with automatic gearboxes. Vendors attain improved levels of auction conversion with older examples of Rodeo, Ranger, Hilux and Navara especially those coupled with low miles. Fiat’s Fullback continues to struggle to gain acceptance. In the used market, Fullback values are in excess of £2,500 behind the equivalent L200 derivatives. Well-priced Defenders remain in demand with some vendors seeing the British icon as a licence to print money.
- Units sold in April: Circa 9,300 (Down 11.6% on March) (Up 0.6% on April 2018)
- Average van price: £6,295 (Down 0.4% on March) (Down 1.7% on April 2018)
- Average mileage: 75,741
- Average age: 66.1 months
- First time conversion rate: 73.3%
- Best-selling model at auction for the month: Citroen Berlingo 625 Enterprise L1
This article was originally written for the Commercial Fleet blog.