The first quarter of 2024 was the strongest-ever for LCV arrivals at Cox Automotive with more than 25,000 vans recorded at its Manheim Auction Services and Manheim Vehicle Services locations. 

A record-breaking 422 vendors selected Manheim as their van remarketing and/or defleet partner during Q1, a 28% year-on-year increase.  

Matthew Davock, Director of Manheim Commercial Vehicles, Cox Automotive, said: “It’s been quite the quarter, to say the least. Frenetic buyer activity is positive proof of a market in rude health. 

“We saw a 36% increase in defleeted volumes, a 29% year-on-year increase in auction stock arrivals and a 12% increase in buyers. The 3,200 buyers attending our auctions meant business, with 79% of stock selling first time. Our daily nationwide hybrid sales programme now averages 500 buyers per day and attendance at our physical sales continues to prove the demand for this format. 

“The flood of LCV product into the wholesale market has also seen customers call for additional support, including new vehicle deliveries, customised reconditioning solutions and storage – all things we of course have been willing and able to support.” 

Overall average selling prices remained stable in the LCV sector but price re-alignments across Euro 6 LWB product was evident. The average selling price over the quarter was £8,766, a year-on-year reduction of 3.2% (or £287). 

A change in age dynamics was very evident in Q1, according to Manheim’s figures. At 64 months, the average is a full 11 months younger than the same period in 2023. On the flip side, overall return mileages remain high at 82,056, 166 more than the 2023 average.  

Matthew believes this figure highlights the fact that the used LCV marketplace is continuing its realignment from the dizzy heights of used LCV prices seen following the pandemic ‘boom’ period for van demand. The most recent high point shows a 17.4% overall price reduction, or £1,848 on average, compared to the 2021 record-breaking year for used van prices.  

“It’s worth noting that the average return mileage today is 6,112 miles more compared to the highest recorded in 2021”, Matthew added. “It’s also important not to lose sight of how price shifts recorded before, and during, the pandemic compare to today’s market performances. The average selling price for a used van is currently 41.3% stronger (£2,559 more) than 2019 market levels. Age and mileage metrics are also markedly higher today compared to that same period.” 

Less positively, overall vehicle condition statistics continue to be a key talking point in the LCV sector. Recorded average damage return for Q1 is at its highest, with an average of £403 more damage (or 31% increase) compared to 2021 figures. 

Matthew again believes the fleet, leasing and rental operators have had little choice but to work fleet assets much longer and harder than they would prefer. A third of vans being offered across MAS locations in Q1 highlighted mechanical defects while 46% were offered having missed important service schedules over the past three years.  

“The story with Euro 5 and older vehicles is much more positive,” he said. “These value-for-money, older assets have continued to demonstrate significant price differences compared to Euro 6 and new vehicles. On average, these vans are tracking as 64% cheaper than their Euro 6 equivalents. However, the segment is shrinking, representing just 22% of Manheim catalogue entries so far this year with an average selling price and age of £3,766 and 9.5 years respectively.” 

Used Euro 6 vehicles continued to dominate catalogues during Q1 and average return mileages remain excessively high at 77,113. That underlines a 23% increase compared to 2022 levels and a little more than a fifth of these vehicles are, on average, under 50,000 miles.  

These stock ‘challenges’ mean retail buyers have more to reckon with than they did previously, according to Matthew. 

He added: “BEV LCV numbers in our auction lanes continue to rise, and buyer confidence is growing, albeit slowly. Volumes are up 229% compared to 2023, but they make up just 1.5% of our sold data. The average selling price is £8,067, with an average vehicle age of 43 months and 24,195 miles. 

“The wholesale LCV market continues to evolve, with changes in vehicle age, mileage and pricing. However, there's a healthy balance between available stock and buyer demand, making it a strong quarter for the sector and the LCV industry as a whole.”