Manheim, the UK’s number one CV auction company, delivered its seventh consecutive month of record-breaking van sale performances in November. Manheim’s buyers continued to set records, demonstrating the pent-up demand for quality used vans. In November’s headlines:

  • 90% of vans sold in their first auction event
  • 29% increase in active buyers year-on-year
  • 38% reduction in vendor holding days year-on-year
  • 4.8% reduction in average selling price (-£431 to £8,505). Behind October this was still the second highest value on record and 39% higher year-on-year

Manheim report the following headlines from its latest van dealer sentiment survey:

  • 60% reported retail demand softening during lockdown restrictions, noticeably towards the back end of November
  • 90% adopted a click and collect service in the latest lockdown
  • 40% recorded strong retail performances with a number reporting “much stronger” than prior year

During lockdown, Manheim utilised its Simulcast platform to bring together vendor van stock from across the UK into new daily and weekly online auctions. The events took feeds of inspections reports and imagery from both Manheim and third-party de-fleet sites. This innovative strategy transformed the van auction landscape for vendors and buyers alike.

Vendors are no longer constrained to sell across a network of geographic auction centres and associated weekly or fortnightly sale programmes. Manheim’s wider auction network provides localised de-fleet, inspection and imagery whilst minimising logistical costs. Manheim’s CV team brings together a vendor’s stock of vans into a daily or weekly multi-vendor auction event with hundreds of other vendors’ vans. In November, vans remarketed by Manheim in this way took an average of only eight days (from physical or digital arrival) to find a buyer. This was a 38% reduction in vendor stocking days compared to the same month in 2019 and 90% of vans sold in their first auction event in the month.

Buyers are no longer constrained by vendors’ weekly or fortnightly geographic auction sale events. This is important with duplicate stock where these can be matched to buyers with multiple retail enquiries. In November, the number of active buyers was 29% higher than those recorded in the same month of 2019.

Matthew Davock, Manheim director of CV, said: “Whilst average selling price has softened, it is important to consider the reasons behind this. It was primarily driven by an older profile of de-fleet stock. November’s stock was the oldest and highest mileage sold since we exited the March lockdown. Our price ceiling prediction for Euro 5 and pre-Euro 5 has borne out. Taking November’s shift in stock profile and overlaying both the UK wide Covid lockdowns and the historical seasonal Christmas market softening, we see no cause for concern. Dealer and rental volume were very scarce during the month. Fleet numbers remained consistent. The overall reduction in stock, specifically the share of Euro 6, reflected in an increase in average age and mileage. Our buyer survey shows van dealers remain resilient, resourceful and flexible. Taken together, this proves November’s market should not in any way be confused with early signs of a market re-alignment.”

James Davis, customer insight director, Cox Automotive, added: “2020’s van market is likely to finish 20% down at around 285,000 new vans year-on-year. There are signs that lead time pressures are easing and some OEMs are actively landing stock in advance of the UK transition deadline so there may be an element of forced registrations in December. Aside from potential new tariffs, list prices have only ever been going one way. The used market performance, specifically Euro 6 values, has become intrinsically linked to this supply led recessionary behaviour. The health of the UK economy, aside from the potential tariff position, will be the controlling influence for the van market in the coming years, and historically the new supply of commercial vehicles has closely tracked GDP performance.”

More insight on the new and used van markets can be found in the 2020 Cox Automotive Insight report.