Andy Conde on Manheim rostrum

The Gavel - December 2022

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Wholesale market opinion from our resident car and LCV auction experts, Andy Conde and Stuart Peak.

Andy Conde - cars

Andy Conde on Manheim Rostrum

I can’t believe that we’ve reached the last Gavel of 2022 already. I thought I’d take the opportunity to look back on what has been a very unpredictable year, and a look ahead as to what 2023 may have in store for us.

As always, January started off with a bang. We saw several auctions returning to physical sales and this was extremely successful. It was great to see so many buyers returning to the halls rather than being sat behind a computer screen, and the attendance numbers steadily increased throughout the year.

The trouble was, no amount of experience – which our auction teams have in abundance – would help us to predict what was going to happen from one month to the next.

In March we started to feel the pinch. We saw a drop in buyer demand as consumer confidence dipped following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, threats of massive hikes in domestic energy costs, the leap in fuel costs at the pumps, and the political uncertainty closer to home. We’re hardy souls in the motor trade, and thankfully most of us weathered the storm, but sadly there were casualties along the way.

In late spring we started to see a return of the high demand, low supply dynamics we have become accustomed to since 2020. During this period, footfall slowly increased to our auctions, confidence returned, and we were able to deliver some fantastic results for our customers.

During this time, first-time conversions across our auctions were exceeding 85% on average, and overall conversions throughout the year hovered around 80% which is an incredible result. In fact, most manufacturer auctions at Manheim this year have delivered 100% conversions, highlighting the sheer demand for newer, lower mileage stock that is in such short supply.

Prices too have reflected the demand. While in November the reduction in CAP values of 1.2%, which equates to around £250 per vehicle, was the third biggest drop this year, many marques continue to rise in values despite this as the demand for quality used vehicles, irrespective of age, remains unprecedented.

And what of electric vehicles? While they are certainly the future of our industry, I believe the country is still a long way from having the necessary infrastructure to support these vehicles en masse. While overall numbers of EVs through our auctions remain low compared to petrol and diesel, demand for these vehicles isn’t high at this point in time and this is reflected in the downward trend of their values.

Had you asked for my market predictions back in January, I would never have been so bold to forecast the year we have had as seasonal trends and normal market conditions have all but disappeared. It’s clear our customers feel the same at this point in the year with the last few weeks being more of a challenge following the recent market adjustments and buyers reluctant to splash the cash on new stock in preparation for a new year.

It's difficult to predict what 2023 has in store for us, but if I were to guess? I do not see any big numbers of used or new cars hitting the markets for some time, and therefore we will continue to see the same supply and demand scenario. But remember, with the uncertainty around public transport, many consumers will still look to the trusted car to get them from A to B. For that reason, so I see no drop off in sales, and for those quality near-new, low mileage vehicles, prices will only go one way.

As ever our amazing industry has shown great resilience to ride the storm and I have no doubt 2023 will be more of the same. Thank you for all your great support and comments over the past 12 months. I hope you have enjoyed reading my updates for The Gavel; they’ll be back in the new year. A very merry Christmas to you, your families and friends.

Stuart Peak - LCVs

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

As 2022 draws to a close, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for making 2022 another great year. Hot off the press, I can also proudly announce that we have been awarded the What Van? Remarketing Company of the Year award for the second year running. Without our customer’s support, none of this would have been possible, and I am incredibly proud of our teams for this amazing achievement to cap off a great year.

2022 has been incredibly fast paced, with lots of change. I believe Manheim has adapted very well and future proofed ourselves (and our customers) to be able to continue to succeed in 2023 and beyond.

The last year has been one of unprecedented demand within certain sectors, with minibus stock particularly standing out. When Covid hit, minibuses became almost unsellable with demand virtually non-existent and guide values dropped significantly as a result. Yet, demand this year has been astronomical and values are now on average 40% higher than they were before the pandemic.

High-quality, professionally converted wheelchair accessible buses from the likes of GM Coachworks and Stanford Coachworks are in hot demand, alongside 17-seater factory-built minibuses. There has also been excellent demand for nine seaters, with the Ford Tourneo and Mercedes Vito Tourer in hot demand more recently.

Positively, auction volumes this year have tracked very slightly ahead of 2021 but are still roughly one-third behind what we were handling prior to 2020. I predict we’ll see another slight rise in the number of used LCVs entering the market in 2023, but we are likely to see the average age and mileage of auction stock continuing to increase. While volumes should increase, I don’t see the floodgates opening, and I feel that volume will remain consistent, certainly in the early months of 2023.

Virtually every sector has seen short supply this year and demand for panel van and chassis-derived stock has also been excellent. However, I’m often asked by our buyers: “Where are all the small vans?”. I hope we can see more of this stock enter the wholesale arena in 2023 but as ever it’s impossible to predict today.

The return of physical LCV auctions has been a huge positive this year and we continue to see the percentage of vehicles sold to a physical buyer increase, with a further 4% increase in November, up to 29% of our total sales. In November alone, 647 unique buyers purchased an LCV through one of our sales and over 2,800 unique buyers have purchased a commercial vehicle with Manheim throughout 2022 demonstrating the sheer demand across our award-winning auction programme. With a great choice of stock from many of the UK’s leading vendors, it is not hard to see why so many commercial vehicle buyers choose Manheim!

Thank you for your continued support throughout 2022, I’ll be back with more updates for The Gavel in the new year. For now, have a great Christmas and a happy new year! 

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