The Gavel - August 2023

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Wholesale market opinion from our resident car and LCV auction experts, Kevin Blincowe and Stuart Peak.

Kevin Blincowe - cars

Kevin Blincowe on Manheim Rostrum

So much for a summer scorcher!

The recent wet weather in the UK just goes to show why so many are keen to go further afield during the school holidays. July is typically the month when we see both buyers and vendors take some well-earned annual leave. For those buyers that remained, our physical attendance numbers have remained steady throughout the month despite the inclement weather.

Cap values have has softened slightly, however for the right car in the right condition you can still throw the book out of the window. For example, well-presented Ford Focuses are still causing jaws to drop with the prices they can achieve. They are just one of a number of marques that are highly sought after.

As mentioned in previous updates, we are continually seeing a clear trend of vendors reacting to market conditions and having the best results. Indecision and holding too many provisional bids can have a detrimental effect on conversions, but thankfully we aren’t seeing too many of those.

Our evening dealer sales continue to be the jewel in the crown, with Manchester, Leeds and Colchester churning out some amazing results for our customers. Birmingham, Northampton and Bristol are also jam-packed full of vehicles from a wide range of vendors. Manheim’s lanes really are the place to be at the moment.

We strive to create an exciting vibrant environment for our bidders and the busy auction halls help create a buzz that our auctioneers feed off. We are seeing plenty of new accounts opened as our hybrid sales programme has proved to be an attractive option for customers.

Looking ahead, we’ve had great success in bringing Harwoods on board, who will be selling at Colchester. A huge welcome too, to Riverside who will be selling at Leeds. These are two more vendors with prime stock who further boost our offering with quality part-exchange vehicles. Look out for great new stock opportunities in our catalogues this week.

As we head into the second half of the year we will not be resting on our laurels. The motor trade is one of the most resilient arenas in the country as people will always need a car. At Manheim we are well-placed to provide an excellent service to our vendors and buyers. Marrying the two together helps keep the wheels turning and drives the used vehicle marketplace.

Stuart Peak - LCVs

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

I am pleased to report an upturn in activity throughout July, with results that have exceeded all expectations. Whilst Q2, particularly May and June, had a more seasonal feel to them, July felt buoyant in comparison. Even the 0.5% interest rate rise by the Bank of England at the end of the month – albeit controversial – seemed to have an almost instantaneous positive impact.

Stock levels and sales volumes remain consistent, although we’ve seen a 27% increase in LCV arrivals in July compared to the same period in 2022. If that trend continues, we have a busy end of summer ahead. We may not have had the weather on our side, but we do have a fantastic vendor base that is fully aligned to market conditions and wants to keep metal moving. That’s giving buyers an abundance of choice across every sale, every day of the week.

Diving into the data, first-time conversions improved by 5% in July, with four out of five vans selling on their first trip through the lanes. We have also seen more reductions in age and mileage, now down to 73 months and 78,000 miles on average. This represents a huge swing from March when age and mileage exceeded 84 months and 84,000 miles respectively.

Guide values have reduced over the past two months which should help to keep the wheels turning as we navigate our way through Q3. Most notable reductions have been in the EV and small panel van sectors, topping as much as 15% and 6% respectively for certain models.

Undoubtedly, electrified vans and their impact on the way we all go about business remain the hot topic. Incredibly, we sold as many EV LCVs in July as we have done all year, which goes to show that there is demand when priced correctly. Undeniably, values are fluctuating, they’re expensive vs their ICE counterparts and many worry about range, but they’re the future and it’s vital we all understand more about them. I’d love to hear your views on where they fit in your lives, drop me a line.

More generally, we’ve received some excellent buyer feedback recently, which is pleasing considering we are in the middle of the summer holidays. Buyers continue to make excellent use of our hybrid auction capabilities with many logging in from their family holidays, not wanting to miss out on profit opportunities. I even know of some auction attendees who were as far out as Australia and the US last week. In this day and age, the job never stops!

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