In what should be a buoyant buying period, the September wholesale market was subdued.

Compounded by significant volumes of duplicate vehicles available across all segments, buyers are in no a rush to increase stock levels while the economic and political uncertainty continues.

September stock sales are on average 1.6 months older than 12 months ago, at 65.5 months, but 1.6 months younger than last month.

Average mileage is 72,600 miles, a decrease of 2,070 miles on last September, but near unmoved on August. The average sale price for the month increased by over £200 on August but was down over £250 on September 2018.

Overall, September sales volumes declined 8.9% on August and stand 14.6% behind September last year.

Of the vehicles sold, average first-time conversion rates increased by 1.9% to 79.0. These changes highlight the volatility in the market and the general caution of the buyer.

Small Vans

33.8% of overall sales

The Citroen Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo, VW Caddy and Ford Transit Connect represent the largest volumes of sold vehicles in the small van sector. Although volumes sold during September were down nearly 11% on August, average prices were up over 4%. Sold stock was five months younger, while average mileage was over 400 miles higher than in August.
The strongest performances during the month were for the Peugeot Partner, the Renault Kangoo and the Transit Connect where average prices all increased over the previous month. The Nissan eNV200 returned a near 12% increase in prices over the month, proving demand for battery-powered LCVs continues to grow. All other ranges returned reductions in average prices.

Medium Vans

33.6% of overall sales

September proved to be a positive month for medium vans. Although volumes sold decreased by 175 units versus August, first-time conversion rates improved by 1.0% to 81.5%.

Sale prices also saw an improvement of over 2.0% with average prices exceeding £7,000. The VW Transporter, Ford Transit Custom, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Citroen Dispatch proved to be the volume sellers during the month, with only Vauxhall and Volkswagen returning average price increases.

Large Vans

18.3% of overall sales

Following the medium van positivity, large panel van volumes sold were down by nearly 6.0% on August, with first-time conversion rates improving by 0.5% to 78.9%. As with the medium sector, sale prices also saw improvement, this time by over 6.25% with an average prices exceeding £6,600. The Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter made up nearly 60% of all sales in this sector, with average sale prices increasing by £450 on August. Somewhat surprisingly, no range returned an average price increase during September.

4×4 Pick-ups

13.1% of overall sales

Demand for 4×4 pick-ups fell for the third month in a row, this time by over 130 units. Improvements to September stock quality saw average mileage decreasing 2,500 miles and average age reducing by 3.9 months, driving average sale prices to improve by 6.25% to now stand just short of £10,000. Although sales of the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara reduced nearly 12% during the month, they still made up over 50% of all sales while sale prices improved by 10%. The VW Amarok continues to sell when condition and miles are right with September prices improving by over 9%. Buyers continue to seek higher-specification Defenders, with the best XS and special edition models continuing to sell for exceptional prices.

Andy Picton is chief commercial vehicle editor at Glass’s