Dealers increasingly turning away from “scruffy” van stock, VRA meeting hears

Dealers are increasingly ignoring “scruffy” van stock, especially larger models, that need a high degree of work for sale, the first Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) meeting of 2024 heard last week.

A light commercial vehicle auction discussion panel was organised for the event, held at the Derby premises of Geldards, and all involved agreed that there were too many big vans in poor condition on the market.

Julian Pullen, senior editor, commercial vehicles and motorcycles, cap hpi, said: “It used to be said that if a van needed £1,000 of work, it sold for £1,500 less. Now that latter figure is more like £2,000 to £3,000. People just don’t want scruffy stock.”

Stuart Peak, national LCV manager, Manheim, agreed: “Dealers know that if they buy a vehicle that needs work, it could take between 6-12 weeks to get it done at the moment plus, given the present market, it’s value might fall £500-600 in the meantime.”

It was easy to understand the logic of dealers, added Graham Howes, head of digital sales, Motor Auction Group: “They don’t want to tie their money up for that kind of period. There’s a lot of untidy large vans around and, in the time it takes to get them up to standard, they could turn around two or three vehicles in better condition.”

Louis Maxwell, senior insight manager, Auto Trader, added: “We’re seeing interest from buyers concentrated in newer vans and the oldest stock. It’s the middle group – anywhere from 2-5 years – especially where condition is poor that is under the most pressure.”

The situation could lead to a growth in companies that help to recondition these vehicles before sale, Julian suggested.

“We think there could be new developments in this area. Certainly, there’s a lot of poor-quality stock around at the moment and businesses that bring it up to scratch quickly and efficiently could fill a gap in the market.”

The meeting also featured a section on developments in motor finance and insurance, featuring Adrian Dally, director of motor finance and strategy, Finance and Leasing Association; Tim Kelly, managing director and owner at MotorClaimGuru; and Louise Wallis of Auto Strategists.

Finally, Jon Butler of Geldards, the VRA’s legal counsel, provided an update on the new FCA review of historic discretionary commission arrangements and the recently introduced Automated Vehicles Bill.

VRA chair Philip Nothard said: “We believe that this was the best attended VRA member meeting ever, with 40 members in the room and another 20 online. Our organisation is growing and with meetings such as this, which provided excellent insights into key, current topics affecting the remarketing sector, you can see why.”

The next VRA meeting, on the theme of how new fleet disposal strategies are affecting remarketing, will take place at Geldards on Thursday 21st March.

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