Light commercial vehicle volumes increased 4% at Manheim in March despite Brexit and general economic uncertainty.
The figures show that fleet and lease vehicles made up the majority of March volume, with the average price holding steady at £5,984, while average age (63 months) and mileage (81,244) increased when compared to February’s figures.
Matthew Davock, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim, commented: “In line with the stock mix seen in February, fleet and lease vehicles made up the majority of March’s volume, which accounts for the increase in age and mileage.”
“It could be argued that the impact of political and economic uncertainty began to be felt with some buyers being more cautious in March. First-time conversion rates were down 2%, although still impressive at 79%. April will be key to see if this trend continues; ensuring we do not confuse it with the expected seasonal slowdown at Easter.”
The March figures helped result in a strong quarter one for Manheim that saw a 4% increase in volume when compared to Q1 in 2018, while the average selling price rose by £448 to £6,189. Demand for used LCVs has been strong throughout the quarter, with 81% of LCVs sold first-time at Manheim.
The positive news in the wholesale market follows strong results in the new van market, where SMMT figures revealed an 8.9% increase in Q1 registrations.
Davock commented: “In contrast to the new car market, the LCV market has had a stronger start to 2019. From a used perspective almost all of our buyers have reported strong activity with some having had record months during Q1.”
“We continued to see impressive growth in online buying at Manheim and online sales were up 26% year-on-year. The introduction of our weekly online sales event and increased popularity of our ‘Bid and Buy now’ option has helped reduce average days to sell for our vendors, down 2 to 15.5 days.”
Commenting on the introduction of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), Davock added: “Euro 6 van stock is still in high demand but only represented 6% of our total volume sold in March. With slightly older vans in the auction lanes it’s unlikely this Euro 6 volume share will increase in April.
“Now that the ULEZ is in place in London, it’s important that SMEs weigh up the costs and options facing them. For those operating one pre-Euro 6 van once a week the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge may well be absorbed or passed onto customers. The multiplier effect is the issue – a company running five vans and one truck in the ULEZ on weekdays faces an annual bill of £39,000.”
“To help van operators understand what’s coming, not just in London but across the UK, Manheim has produced a free guide, available here.avock continued: “Looking ahead, the LCV wholesale market is well-placed to build on a strong first quarter. People I’ve spoken to across the industry are keen to see a resolution on Brexit so that they can press forward with confidence.”