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The Gavel - 2nd April

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Our fortnightly blog gives you the latest car and CV market insight from two people on the auction front line.

The Gavel – Cars
Andy Conde

Andy Conde

March has certainly been a month of two halves. 

The early part of the month saw the markets holding firm, with strong prices and demand, especially on ready to retail stock. 

It’s fair to say we’ve seen a downward turn in the latter part of the month due to higher entries, and poor retail figures resulting in a lack of buyer demand. On top of this, political uncertainty continues to hang over the motor trade, creating difficult trading conditions.

Having said that, the majority of manufacturer sales are still hitting the dizzy heights of 90% conversion with cap prices close to 100%, but remember, these vehicles have been through the high standards of our refurb programmes and are ready for the forecourts.

Getting the best out of the market?

With increased entries, conversion rates are dropping and the rotation and control of stock is even more important.

Vendors will certainly profit by reacting promptly to changes in the market, and I can’t stress enough the value of a quality disposal manager who can read the markets and be both reactive and proactive as the job turns.

My advice is to seriously consider the money on the rostrum at the first time of asking. As auctioneers we see a lot of sales lost for £50 or £100, but our data shows that the first bid is often the best, and buyer interest can be cooler for vehicles offered a second time.

As always, as we head towards the spring and summer months demand for convertible product is rising, but on the other hand sales of 4 x 4 vehicles and the so called Chelsea tractors are getting tougher to move on.

Looking ahead

The implementation of emission charges in both London and Birmingham will have an effect on non-compliant diesels vehicles, and we will some vendors shipping these around the country as a result. 

As always, quality will sell, buyers want value and a quick turnover - buy it, clean it, sell it, is the name of the game, and buyers will give more for a fast profit. 

Whatever area of the country we go to, sub-standard vehicles are becoming harder and the value of scrap is not generating bids for the vehicles destined for the crusher.

Regrettably, I do not foresee any significant improvements in market conditions over the coming weeks. As I have previously mentioned, the uncertainty around the current political situation is having a considerable adverse effect on business, and consumers are reluctant to spend money unless there is real value in the deal.

I genuinely believe that Manheim has the best auctioneers in the business, and I would urge vendors to work in partnership with us as much as possible. We can’t work miracles, but we can offer advice and guidance to support decision making.

The Gavel – Commercial Vehicles
Matthew Davock

Matthew Davock in the rostrum

The LCV market has remained steady over the past two weeks, but average age and mileage continue to increase, with average mileage reaching a 12 month high of 82,000 miles. 

As predicted we have seen a softening in overall arrival numbers v February, but on a positive note, LCV volume continues to track above prior year for the third consecutive month of 2019. 

March also saw an increase in overall buyer footfall and ‘clickfall’ when compared to February, and we’ve seen more demand and appetite to purchase... but overall mileage and condition continue to play a vital part.

Our overall conversion rates remain positive with 79.6% selling first time, but we’re working much harder to convert and maintain the high levels we expect to deliver for our buyers and vendors. 

Getting the best out of the market?

Southern buyers are clearly keen to buy Euro 6 stock in line with the London Clean Air Zone and the TfL scrappage scheme, but this stock represents just 6% of our overall sold volume.
CDV and medium van segment units remain in high demand but large panel vans, tippers and lutons are struggling slightly, and overall condition, mileage and specification remain key. 

Looking ahead

For Manheim, stock quality, availability and auction agility are our key priorities, and online sales continue to grow with a staggering 47% of vehicles bought by online buyers in March.

Our LCV Online and Buy Now 24/7 channels also did well in March, and the number of sales increased by 118 vehicles when compared to 2018. 

Market uncertainty is till a cause for concern for both the industry and our buyers, but in the main we have seen the overall appetite improve over the past two weeks. 

Moving into April, I predict that this more positive market will continue, and overall LCV market supply and demand should remain consistent and healthy.

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