When it comes to auction time, which features and equipment will save you time – and maximise your returns – when you’re ready to sell? Rachel Boagey investigates.
What features and equipment make used vans stand out for buyers at an auction?
This question is becoming even more pertinent as LCV customers are now much more fussy and demand the same sort of equipment that cars have – not just the likes of metallic paint and aircon but also safety and driver assistance kit.
A shortage of good-quality, ready-to-retail used vans is leading to fierce competition, and generally rising values, for the best examples – and there’s no better way of upping these values than by fitting vans with the equipment buyers want.
Aston Barclay’s commercial vehicle sales manager Geoff Flood says practical features such as Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation, central locking, power steering, reversing sensors and electric door mirrors are seen as essentials, “while the more sophisticated features are only specified if they add value to the operation of the business”.
“If the vehicle is being purchased for the recreational market then the higher level of specification on the used van, the better,” he says.
“Not surprisingly, the VW Transporter is a big favourite as many used vans are purchased and then converted into camper vans, so a high base level of specification is very important,” says Flood, who notes that satnav and rear parking sensors are certainly desirable at the moment and will always make a significant value difference against CAP.
The average van is definitely becoming more complex with a wide range of options for the used buyer, says Jon Gilbert, BCA’s business development director, LCVs: “Many look for phone connectivity and a factory-fitted satnav as the starting point. We are also seeing a rising expectation for park-assist features and parking cameras as operators look for ways to manage in-life costs and reduce vehicle damage.”
BCA’s most recent study showed that LCVs fitted with aircon outperform those without by a considerable margin in values achieved, performance against guide values, and conversion rates. “Vehicles fitted with aircon are very desirable at remarketing time and values typically outstrip standard vehicles by a considerable distance – well over £1,000 on average,” he says.
Tim Spencer, commercial vehicle manager, Shoreham Vehicle Auctions, says today’s buyers expect as much from a used van as they do a used car – “with certain levels of equipment and trim a ‘given’ at different price points. And the higher the specification the better in terms of returns at auction and demand”.
“Features such as air-conditioning and reversing sensors are now very much ‘standard requirement’ and are what 90% of buyers are seeking as part of a quality used package as they know they’re a key component of a vehicle’s make-up for the end user,” he says.
Vehicles without are increasingly becoming the exception to the rule. “Buyers know and understand this and recognise the higher specification a vehicle is – without entering the realms of ‘luxury’ – the more attractive a vehicle will be,” Spencer continues. “Ultimately, understanding your target market is key when it comes to specifications.”