The Gavel - June 2023
Wholesale market opinion from our resident car and LCV auction experts, Kevin Blincowe and Stuart Peak.
Kevin Blincowe - cars
As predicted, the bank holidays caused some disruption throughout the wholesale and retail markets. With bidding activity reduced somewhat with people on holiday, it has felt very much like a “traditional May” – something we haven’t experienced since before the pandemic. Despite this, there were several sales across the Manheim network that had consistently good performances, and I had a sense that a lot of appetite remains for the right stock.
Plenty of volume entering the Manheim lanes means plenty of choice for dealers, so they can afford to be pickier. As a result, there has been a noticeable upshift in the number of buyers passing on vehicles with a poorer grade and higher mileage in favour of those with a good pedigree which are still commanding a premium.
Colchester’s monthly prestige, performance and EV sale stood out in May as we started to see EV product shifting more easily again. In particular, Tesla has sold well, with some price-range examples selling above cap values for the first time in months.
Another successful sale in May was the launch of Volkswagen Financial Services. The team at Manheim has put in a huge effort to engage the VAG dealer network, helping to shift the late-year, low-mileage stock on offer with great success, and I only expect these sales to improve throughout June.
On the dealer side, our larger vendors continue to provide a plethora of quality stock across our network, helping Manheim to feel as busy as it ever has. Hendy Group and Wessex Garages in particular have supported the Bristol Monday sale so well that it now runs across two lanes, while Big Motoring World continue to support Colchester with large numbers every Tuesday and Thursday. Northampton also deserves a mention, with some amazing results for Car Shop and Sytner Group being rewarded with more quality stock from their premium Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealers in north London.
Overall, while we always strive for more, May was a great month that again proved the market has returned to normal cycles. Demand hasn’t been dampened, just somewhat tempered by the fact that people were taking the opportunity to enjoy some time with friends and family, and I fully expect June to see an increase in conversions.
Looking ahead, we have an exciting opportunity with several JLR sales and the Volkswagen Financial Services programme, and we have jam-packed sales programmes with two lanes in both Leeds and Bristol every Monday and thousands of units on offer across our network every week. There are exciting times in front of us, and I’m looking forward to every moment.
Stuart Peak - LCVs
Writing this blog each month feels a lot like painting a picture. Not that I am an artist by any stretch, but this a great platform for getting out what has been happening in the commercial vehicle world. There’s a lot to say this month, so grab a drink and take five. I am going to keep this in some kind of chronological order.
Looking back at May, we had a lot of bank holidays to contend with which always have an impact on auction sales. Trade buyers reported that retail activity was generally flat throughout the month, and the sales certainly had a tougher feel in places. Saying that, we had a very good month in terms of the pure number of vehicles sold.
Losing two Mondays meant there was a need for agility by consolidating the sales programme. Ultimately this led to some jam-packed sales, and I must take my hat off to our incredible operational teams who, as always, delivered each sale without a hitch in what felt like a more pressured market.
The data tells us that first-time conversions reduced by 6% vs. April, but the overall sold volume increased by 7%. Unquestionably, there is more stock around in the market as fleet replacements truly kick into gear, and predictions are that this will remain the case as we go into the second half of the year. After what has felt like three years of LCV famine, it is great to see our sites looking like a veritable busy feast busy – and we sure like to be busy.
Talking of which, it was an absolute pleasure to be involved with our latest hybrid sale launch at Haydock last Wednesday, with so many regular buyers back in the hall again. The atmosphere on the day was electric and the sale wasn’t half bad either. With just under £2 million worth of vans sold and more than 60 physical buyers registered, it felt just like old times. The team at Haydock always give a warm welcome and it was great to see smiles on so many faces. Nearly half of the vans went to a hall bidder, and I know some buyers travelled more than 300 miles to attend on the day. Haydock is a key site for our commercial vehicle strategy, bringing dealers in the north-west region of the country what they really want.
Looking ahead to June, we have a full month without bank holidays and results so far are painting a positive picture. There is certainly sensitivity in some age and mileage brackets, and as always, damage levels need to always be taken in to account when setting reserves. In general, the pool of vans available throughout all wholesale channels is getting older and harder worked – more than we have ever seen before, and this is likely to be the case for some time.
Price expectations are high, particularly after a very strong start to 2023 and the last three years, but I can see the market finding another level this year as certain sectors (e.g. small van), mileage and age bandings re-align.
One final note, a date for the diary. On Friday 7th July, we will be holding the annual Novuna LCV Premium event down in Trowbridge. It’s set to be our biggest ever with 175 vans up for grabs on the day. Watch out on our social media channels over the coming weeks for more information on the beauties available, you might even see my face pop up in a video or two.