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The Gavel - March 2024

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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

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (a good one, mind), last month I spoke about the strength of demand in our lanes and I’m pleased to say that February continued in much the same vein. 

We saw 10s of 1,000s of units pass through our lanes throughout the month and even broke a couple of long-standing records along the way. It would be remiss of me not to give a shout-out to our northern powerhouse centre, Manheim Leeds, which broke its record for units sold in a month. We aren't just talking post-covid either, this was a record that has stood since 2009 and the whole team there deserve all the plaudits. 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating so they say, and we saw good demand across Manheim throughout February. Buyer numbers remained high, particularly at our dealer sales and the sheer volume of entries is pulling consistently large crowds week after week.  

Cap have held firm on valuations on most products, but this time of year, as ever, we’ve seen convertibles start to ramp up. Also, anything petrol, small and clean continues to push the boundaries of valuations in a good way; these are the units everyone is after. 

As part of Cox Automotive, we celebrated our team members in February at our annual Autos awards. I’m extremely proud that Manheim Auction Services won on the night for our performance in 2023. It’s great to work for a company that celebrates excellence. 

Looking ahead to what's in store for the remainder of Q1, there are some exciting sales on the horizon. Manheim Birmingham has new vendors and the lanes remain full everywhere else. I’d also like to highlight a special online event which will see 50 Harley Davidsons on sale. Keep an eye on the Manheim website for more information on that soon.  

I expect March will continue the positivity with good numbers being converted and values holding. As always with the Easter holidays on the horizon, the seasonal dip in demand will mean that we will have to be at our very best to keep the remarketing wheels turning.

Stuart Peak - LCVs

Stuart Peak on Manheim rostrum

I am pleased to report that following an excellent start to the year, February followed much the same path. We saw real consistency throughout the month, with four-out-of-five vans selling first time, and, despite a notable increase in stock levels, our buyer base has been keen to spend.  

We saw little change in stock profile, with the average age at 64 months, an average mileage of 81,000 miles and an average selling price of £8,768. Auction arrivals in February increased by 37% year-on-year and we are yet to see any kind of slowdown as vendors continue to choose Manheim to sell their de-fleeted product. A whopping 208 unique vendors sold with us last month.   

It’s great to see our dedicated network of LCV sites so full of quality stock and the sales full of hungry buyers. Sales to physical buyers increased by 4% vs January and I’m still seeing plenty of new and old faces at our auctions. The total number of buyers increased by a further 7% in February with more than 3,000 buyers interacting with our sales. This is a trend I can see continuing into March. 

The first two weeks of March have shown no signs of things slowing down, but with Easter only weeks away we are looking to maximise every sale opportunity over the next few weeks.  

Could the market change in Q2? Personally, I don’t think that we will see anything like the downturn that happened a year ago. It feels like the market is currently well aligned, whereas last year we were coming down from the crest of the wave. Yes, there may be the odd seasonal period throughout 2024, but I am predicting that we will see consistency as a whole. 

To summarise, we are witnessing the perfect balance of healthy stock levels and excellent buyer demand which has contributed to a record-breaking start to 2024! 

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