The Gavel - November 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

As the clocks changed and the nights drew in, we saw several of our branches get spooky with the Halloween themed sales that are always well received. Even more so with prizes on offer, kindly sponsored by the RAA.

Overall, it was a very good month for Manheim, one that saw the successful launch of Motability Operations on Mondays at Colchester. On the dealer front we continue to see strong volumes coming through the lanes and our evening sales are very much the shining example of how to run a hybrid sales programme.

CAP has seen several consecutive downward adjustments in recent months and this theme will undoubtedly continue in order to bring book values in line with current market conditions. The appetite is most definitely there, however we have noticed that the exuberance of our buyers has turned into more shrewd buying patterns based around replenishment of stock. In my opinion there is still some way to go in terms of book adjustment on some of the late year/low mileage cars, especially hybrid vehicles where the book isn’t representative of the bids these cars are getting.

Turning the lens to Manheim specifically, we continue to see a big growth in the number of active buyers taking part in our sales both physically and online. We’ve created a vibrant and bustling marketplace for customers to buy and sell vehicles how they choose to, plus, a combination of grit and determination on the rostrum from our team of auctioneers is seeing plenty of bids submitted in what is an ever-changing marketplace. As always, we are well placed to give the best advice on vehicle values.

There is plenty still in the news to be downbeat about, but as has been proved with electric cars and used vehicles in general, we can ride the storm and everything will eventually find its level and start to sell again. There is always a good level of positivity and resilience in the motor trade which we see week in, week out.

Stuart Peak - LCVs

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

Reflecting on October in the LCV market, we witnessed another excellent month for volumes sold with an increase of 23% vs. October 2022. The growth in volumes this year has been remarkable with every month improving on the year before, and I expect this to continue for the remainder of 2023.

Digging into the data we see more positivity around first-time conversions, with four out of five vans selling on their first trip through the lanes (both physical and virtual!). However, average age and mileage increased slightly which in turn saw our average selling price reduce by £630 vs. September to £9,577. 

I expect we will see a softening in market conditions throughout November as we get closer to Christmas. As I write this, we are just six weeks away now and the buoyancy we saw throughout September and October has noticeably dwindled over the last two weeks.

It’s important to note that this is very much normal for November though, so I certainly wouldn’t be downbeat. Every vehicle is sellable, regardless of age, mileage or condition, and the slight softening in the market is not setting alarm bells off here.

Looking across to the new LCV market we see registrations in October reduced by 41% vs.  September, although I don’t expect we’ll see a huge drop in de-fleets throughout November. This may seem a large reduction, but it’s like comparing apples to oranges when you consider the September plate change. Figures in September were very healthy, and YTD registrations have increased 20.5% so things are moving in the right direction.

Signing off this month’s update, my advice for would be to take time with reserve setting and adjust for damage accordingly. With regards to taking on a part-ex, I’d also encourage you to make sure that prices are aligned to current market conditions. If unsure, always seek out that second opinion rather than taking a chance. As we see out the remainder of 2023, don’t forget that buyers will be looking at how long it will take to get vehicles prepared for retail and will be competing to buy the stock that is quickest to turn on their forecourts.

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