July returned the seventh consecutive month of growth for new Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) as registrations rose by 10.95% versus July 2018 with 25,862 new vehicles registered. Demand remains strong with buyers attracted to the latest, cleanest vehicles. July returned increases of 17.2% and 16.9% respectively for the 2.0-2.5-tonne and 2.5-2.5-tonne sectors. Counteracting some of these increases was a 12.4% decline in the sub 2.0-tonne sector and a fourth consecutive monthly decline in the pickup sector, this time by 4.6%.
After seven months, year to date (YTD) registrations of new LCVs stand at 222,280. This is a 9.0% increase on the 204,005 registered over the same period in 2018. Based on this encouraging period, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has increased its latest LCV registrations forecast to 363,000 units for the full year, up 1.4% on the 2018.
Top five LCV registrations
July’s total ensured another strong month for LCV registrations, driven by the general demand for the latest and cleanest vehicles. As we move through quarter three and into Q4, there is the real prospect of supply constraints and extended lead times as factories ramp up UK production of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) compliant LCVs.
Reporting on July, retail and wholesale activity is slow, with economic caution and the holiday period cited as reasons. This is having a knock-on effect, with trade buyers less engaged with many only attending auctions to gain feedback on wholesale performance and pricing.
Over the last three years, the wholesale market has held up well, reducing the impact of seasonal fluctuations. Today, stock continues to return at an older age with higher miles and in poorer condition subsequently influencing buyer appetite.
Bucking the trend of a declining used market, small electric vans are very much in demand. This sub-sector is continues to command stronger prices on a monthly basis.
The average first-time conversion rates returned a 4.4% increase for July versus June however, remain 1.5% down on July last year. Nevertheless, the average sale price for the month was down nearly £300 on June and nearly £1,000 down on July 2018. The average age of the vehicles sold was 2.8 months older versus June and over a year older than stock sold in July 2018.
Small Vans - 36% of overall sales
From Fiesta Van to NV200, the majority of all vans in this sector continue to be available in numbers over the month. Later plate Combo, Transit Connect, Doblo, Caddy and Kangoo have come under further downward pressure, prices paid are more than £200 less than in June. Values for the eNV200, Berlingo/Partner electric and the Kangoo ZE electric vans continue to strengthen as buyers realise the merits of battery powered propulsion.
Medium Vans - 33% of overall sales
Prices in this sector steadied during July, with average sale prices on a par with June. Volumes sold continue to fall in this sector, as supply continues to outweigh demand. The availability of plenty of late year PSA, Ford and VW product is not helping their performance. However, crew vans generally continue to yield good prices for vendors. Older, but tidy examples of Dispatch/Expert/Proace, early Transit Custom, Trafic/Vivaro or Transporter have little trouble in finding buyers. Examples of ex-utility Transit 300 SWB M/Roof continue to prove popular with seeking something a little different.
Large Vans - 20% of overall sales
Sprinter and Transit FWD 290 and 350 models continue to attract attention, with colour versions with sensible miles selling strongly. Higher specification Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Renault Master models are good value for money. Similarly, tidy examples of curtain sider, drop side or tipper continue to attract buyer attention with solid prices, especially if mileages are low. Examples of the current Crafter are available in volume and consequently prices are tumbling, with many emanating from ex-rental sources.
4x4 Pickups - 11% of overall sales
Too much similar stock continues to blight this sector, with average prices paid nearly £375 lower than June. However, high specification L200 Barbarian, Ranger Wildtrak, Navara Tekna and Hilux Invincible with automatic transmission are relatively easy to shift if the vendors are willing to work with the buyers. Vendors holding out rigidly for their reserves find few buyers. The Amarok Highline and Fiat Fullback continue to underperform. Older stock is faring better, with buyers seeing older examples as better value for money. Government sourced basic specification Defenders fail to inspire buyers who are keen on higher specification XS and special edition models, with near retail prices paid for the best stock.