A manufacturer’s badge now carries more weight for customers than practical considerations when deciding which used van to buy, according to valuation specialists Cap.

The company claimed less attention is being paid to the technical ability or reliability of the vehicles; instead, the most important factor determining what customers will pay in the future used market is the strength of the manufacturer’s brand image.

Ken Brown, editor of Cap Red Book, said: “Unfortunately for manufacturers, it is never as simple as just building the best van – you have to have the best brand image to win the residual values war”.

The power of the brand is highlighted by the industry’s use of “badge-engineered LCVs”, according to Cap, where manufacturers produce almost identical vehicles through joint ventures, with the most significant difference being the badge displayed on the front. An example is the Renault Kangoo light van, which also carries the Mercedes-Benz badge on the Citan. Residuals on the Citan are significantly higher than those of the Kangoo, with people expecting to pay around 20% more for a used van bearing the three-pointed star, said Cap.

Brown added: “The holy grail for vehicle manufacturers is reaching a higher position in the pecking order of desirability.

“In reality, it’s the manufacturers who have built the strongest brands over an extended period of time that almost always come out on top,”