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The Gavel - June 2024

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

Kevin Blincowe - cars

Kevin Blincowe on Manheim Rostrum

May is Bank Holiday season, and combined with school holidays, we definitely saw some of our buyers take advantage and get away. Lower footfall saw some impact on conversions; however, pound for pound, we sold an almost identical amount of units as we did in April due to having plenty of numbers around the group.

As is always the way, the vehicles in better condition have always commanded a premium and continued to do so through May. We saw some good success with prestige units sold through our PPEV sale and in the VWFS event, with book price and more achieved on these particular lots. There were some stunners in for sure!

Reports of increased demand in the retail space meant that as the month went on we saw sales growing stronger. As we head into June and stock levels naturally ebb lower, I suspect that we will see a good uptick in conversions - and dare I say some strong cap performances across the board as the supply/demand scales tip us into a vendors market rather than a buyers one.

I want to talk about an initiative that we have been working on for the development and career growth of our team members. At the start of 2024 we launched the auctioneer career development framework, an opportunity for those who have an interest in becoming an auctioneer. We paused a similar programme, The Auctioneers Academy, in the aftermath of Covid when there was a great deal of uncertainty around. Following the great strides Manheim and the used car market in general made in 2023, we felt confident enough that we could resurrect this programme and offer people growth in their careers. In June we will be holding the first event day to get our trainee auctioneers together, to share their experiences, bounce ideas off each other and more importantly for me to put them through their paces and see if they have the X Factor! I’ll share the outcome of the event in my next update but wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this excellent opportunity that we have provided to our people.

Back to the market: in summary, the green shoots are here as we navigate our way out of the post-Easter bank holiday season, stock levels will be lower than they have been and if we combine this with the uptick in retail demand, we will see good conversions and cap performances as we close out H1 and head in to H2 and the summer months.

Stuart Peak - LCVs

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

Although the weather would suggest otherwise, it seems unbelievable that we are fast approaching the midway point of 2024, and H1 will soon be behind us. The CV world has undoubtedly had a frantic first half, and as previously reported, LCV wholesale volumes have increased considerably. In turn, we have seen a buyers’ market playing out over the past quarter, which we fully expected to see.  

There is plenty of choice, variation, and trends that are clear to see. Late plate, low mileage vehicles continue to be in strong demand and volumes of this product are generally low. Run-of-the-mill, three-to-six-year-old product is certainly not in short supply, and as a result, values have come under pressure. Poor condition and harder worked, higher mileage vehicles are certainly being cherry-picked according to desirability and how quickly buyers may feel that they can prepare and turn stock.

Another factor that has undoubtedly had an impact over the last few weeks is the calling of the general election. Many buyers report that retail demand has further softened, which is hardly surprising, as end users wait to see who takes the reins following the upcoming election and what impact this may have on their businesses/lifestyles, etc. That may influence the choices they may or may not be able to make in the coming weeks and months.

From a Cox Automotive perspective, I am certainly not complaining about how H1 is playing out and so far, it has truly exceeded all of our expectations and I expect H2 to continue on a similar path.

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I would urge all sellers to be looking at vehicle values and ensuring that each and every vehicle is reserved correctly and in line with market conditions. Those that react the quickest do reap the rewards.

This is just a final point from me this month. Again, as previously mentioned, don’t forget to add Friday 5th July to the calendar. We have a mighty fine sale to look forward to on behalf of Novuna down at Trowbridge. The catalogue is nearly complete, and each vehicle has been specially selected for the event. We hope to see you on the day or, if not, why not join us online?

Chris Mynott - Truck and Plant

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

May concluded as our best-ever month on record for team HGV – we smashed all records, selling almost 400 units, that’s more than 100 up (month on month) and a huge 244% increase over the same period last year. Days to sell sits nicely at 10.5 and we’ve added to our portfolio of vendors with the likes of Royal Mail and Serco coming on board, which is superb news.

Stock levels remain stable, although we have noticed a slight drop in inbound volumes over the last week or two. A few key vendors are reporting an upturn in business, which has the knock-on effect of fewer units being disposed of for a period of time. I’m hoping this small breather we’re seeing, in terms of volume, might help move the stock that’s sticking and perhaps help engineer a shift out of the rut that the market seems to be in right now.

As we enter ‘flaming June,’ am I expecting the HGV market to ‘hot up’ somewhat? Well, in truth, not really. I think this month is mainly going to be more of the same. The market remains very flat, with lots of very similar kit around, often owing our vendors a small fortune and buyers who can afford to be as picky as they wish.

We continue to see good numbers logged on, averaging just over the 200 mark per sale, but many are merely spectators and really need super encouragement to get involved and push that button! Many buyers report that they’re simply not buying stock currently. Only if they have a sale lined up or a significant chance of one, will they have a go.

All we can do is keep up our pre-sale chats with buyers and vendors alike, set expectations as best we can and keep on selling! Let's hope the market picks up and shows more promise than the recent weather has! 

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