July's Light Commercial Vehicle Editorial

Andy Picton

13 Jul 2018, Editorial

LCV Marketplace

Sales of new light commercial vehicles fell -5.8% in May as 35,182 new light commercial vehicles were registered. Following six months of mixed performance, YTD registrations for 2018 have exceeded 180,000 units however, this figure is down -2.3% on the same point 12 months ago.

Small, medium and large sized vans all saw demand fall in the month, down -18.2%, -7.3% and -6.4% respectively. Over 5,000 pickups hit British roads in June, up 4.1% on May (1.3% - June 2017).

Year-to-date, the bulk of the decline in the new market is in the 2.5-3.5 tonne sector for vans. However, demand remains high, up more than a third (35.7%) on the same period five years ago.

Ford remain dominant in the new market, with the Transit Custom, Transit and Transit Connect holding the top three places respectively in the top ten best sellers for the month, with the 11,403 units registered outselling the combined total of the remaining seven of the top ten manufacturers (11,344 units).

Unsurprisingly, Ford also dominate the YTD placings, with the same models in 1st, 2nd and 4th place respectively. The Ranger is in 6th place. The Transit Custom sold 27,734 units during the first six months of the year, nearly 16,000 units more than that of the third placed Volkswagen Transporter.

Following another positive month of trading during June, July buyer demand has just started to lose its edge as many take advantage of the hot weather and England’s prolonged run in the World Cup.

During June, the best stock across all sectors has been readily absorbed, with nearly 11,000 units sold at auction, a 1% increase on May and a 15% jump in volume on the same point 12 months ago.

Records for June saw the average sales price fall for the first time this year, down 1.7%, whilst the average age of sold stock increased by 1.1 months to 63.1 months. The average mileage of these vehicles rose by 1,500 miles, whilst first time conversion rates fell to 80%.

All buyers are looking for clean and straight vehicles that require little or no work. Anything requiring more than a minimum of preparation have found prices and interest fall away. Nevertheless, there is a home for everything and buyers continue to bid confidently across all sectors with the best stock, typically with plenty of specification, exchanging hands for the strongest prices.

The Kangoo, Combo, Berlingo and Transit Connect have been regulars at auction over the last month, with the nicest examples selling without difficulty. Those offered with sensible miles and in a metallic colour or with extras such as air conditioning have sold without issue. Crew vans in this sector have also been performing strongly.

Vivaro, Trafic and the Transit Custom Limited remain commonplace on the open market, with only the very nicest examples attracting the strongest interest from the trade. Nevertheless, these vans will still find homes without much difficulty especially when offered as Crew vans. The evergreen Transporter continues to defy logic especially when offered with extras such as air conditioning, DSG gearbox or tailgate. Equally popular as a van or with those hoping to convert, a Transporter finished off in metallic paint is a stand out proposition. The previous generation Dispatch and Expert along with the Toyota Proace are also popular vans with the nicest examples on late plates selling for strong money.

A lack of quality in the large van sector remains a major issue and as a result, demand has soared for the nicest stock. Previous generation Transit along with the Relay, Boxer, Ducato and Master have performed well over the month with Enterprise, Professional and Business + models regularly selling strongly. Ford chassis based models such as dropside, tipper and Luton if supported with sensible miles are snapped out quickly, with those from PSA and Renault gaining popularity.

Sales of 4x4 pick-ups remained static during June with average sale prices down versus May. There are too many in the marketplace and with indifferent demand, values have come under downward pressure for models such as the Ford Ranger Limited, the Mitsubishi Barbarian and the previous generation Nissan Navara Tekna. That said, the Navara and the Barbarian sell if priced correctly. The Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max can be hit and miss dependent on specification, colour, mileage and condition whilst the Volkswagen Amarok’s loyal following near guarantees a sale. The Fiat Fullback is available in growing numbers now, but is struggling to find its feet against established competition.

About the author

Andy Picton

Andy PictonChief Commercial Vehicle Editor

Having worked previously for Barclays Asset Finance and LeasePlan in the commercial vehicle sector, Andy joined Glass’s in 2002 as part of the Commercial Vehicle team working closely with manufacturers, leasing and insurance companies, traders, dealers and auction houses. He was promoted to Chief Commercial Vehicle Editor in 2016 and manages our industry-leading team of valuation experts. He loves football, music and obviously commercial vehicles.