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Manheim celebrates strongest ever start to year for LCV sales

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Commercial Vehicles

Cox Automotive and Manheim UK report strongest ever start to a year with 22,344 vans and trucks being de-fleeted through its auction and de-fleet networks during a very busy quarter one period.

  • Overall arrivals up a strong 29% for its commercial vehicle division as noticeable fleet vehicle replacement cycles take shape. 
  • Wholesale stock profile age and mileage returns hit record high levels with LCVs being on average two years older and 18,000 more miles on average today versus pre pandemic market averages, giving the wholesale market challenges never seen before.  
  • Ever increasing Euro5 LCV product evident through the auction lanes as stock that has been in continuous extensions now starting to be de-fleeted in large numbers, representing every 4 in 10 vans during quarter one at Manheim.  
  • Strong performance measures witnessed throughout the first quarter with used LCV product high demand across all three months of 2023 with March topping the quarter.  
  • March concluded with a bang at the UK’s Number 1 CV auction house with demand remaining very positive as the quarter concluded in a strong position for used LCV values. Overall volume levels increased further throughout March, representing a 19% increase vs year-on-year statistics visible through the auction lanes.

    These strong results were also mirrored across the new market for van registrations with the UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market growing for a third consecutive month in March, rising by 17.3% to 47,634 units being registered, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Traditionally a large volume month due to the new number plate, the growth was amplified by comparison with a much weaker March last year, when chronic supply chain shortages drove the market down by -27.6%.

    Overall demand was up across many segments, apart from vans weighing up to and including 2.0 tonnes, down -24.6%, reflecting broader trends which favoured LWB units. The second most popular weight class, vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes, rose by two thirds to 66.3%. Registrations of vans weighing greater than 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes increased marginally by 4.9%, as market share declined to 64.3%. Double digit growth did, however, continue in the smaller volume pickup and 4x4 utility segments, however, rising by 29.3% and some 183.4% respectively.

    A total of 87,272 light commercial vehicles were registered in the first quarter of 2023, up 17.4% against Q1 last year. However, despite the rise of positivity, the quarter still remains -15.1% off pre-pandemic 2019 averages.

    Increased supply brings new challenges

    Matthew Davock, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim, explained that despite the market seeing signs of positivity, an influx in supply brings more challenges. “This increased positivity around vehicle supply is certainly bringing some challenges as stock profile changes are affecting many dynamics, such as buyers needing to change vehicle profile buying habits, stocking much older and higher mileage vans. This is matched with increased time and cost getting these vehicles to retail standard.”

    During the month of March, Manheim recorded its highest ever age of vans (81 months old on average). This demonstrated a 24-month increase versus pre pandemic average levels and a further 6 months’ increase on February statistics. This was matched with mileage increases, with average mileage being recorded at 84,379, an increase on February by 3341 miles.

    271 different vendors (sellers) during March at Manheim witnessed strong first-time conversion rates with 85% selling first time in the month and this was matched with an average days to sell of just 9 days representing a four-day reduction versus 2022 averages.

    Davock concluded: “Even with the vast changes in age and mileage profiles seen today, the average selling prices have remained positive for the quarter at £9064 on average, still demonstrating a significant increase of 46% versus pre pandemic average selling price statistics.

    “As we move into the second quarter of 2023, we do expect some seasonality factors to play much more of a part as retail activity will become more challenged around holidays and bank holiday extended periods. However, with the overall wholesale levels still being generally short we still expect the overall average selling price and key indicator performances to have a positive impact.”

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