Light vans are keeping the UK commercial dealers and manufacturers on track this year, but bigger vehicles are stalling, says George Alexander, editor of Glass’s Commercial Vehicle Guide.
Writing in the latest edition of the guide, he says SMMT statistics for September confirmed that registrations are continuing to take the same path they’ve travelled throughout 2014 with little sign of change this side of the New Year.
Over the month, LCV registrations posted a 14% improvement whilst those for HCVs fell by more than 12%. Following 9 months of mixed fortune, the respective YTD totals for lights and heavies have diverged by +18.1% & -20.3%.
“As we anticipate the last quarter’s results, the pundit’s expectations are that lightweights might post a full year improvement of close to 20% with the 2014 tally for heavies slipping by around 30%,” he says.
As a direct consequence of big discounts being available on new LCVs, it’s become clear that at latest year, prices are coming under downward pressure.
Dealers have become wary of holding too many nearly new vans for fear of getting their fingers burnt. At auction, strong money is being paid for any clean LCV boasting car-like specification or higher horsepower, and preferably accompanied by a full service history.
Across the country there is plenty of positive auction action to be seen with trade buyers in buoyant mood. However, they still face problems in locating the right used stock with many suggesting that rather than with expensive late year gear, they achieve better returns (overall) from pre-2010 vans.
Their specific complaint being that when trading in late year models, the hassle factor is high and the margins often low.
It is undoubtedly true that currently there is no shortage of end-users who want a low budget van and that such fast moving stock is both available and capable of generating good returns.
Demand for small vans is more than a match for the available volume on offer, yet there are undoubtedly winners and losers. Currently, older Connects, Caddys and Combos lead the field with Kangoos bringing up the rear.