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Choosy buyers have their pick of large MPVs

Date: 22 November 2006

Smoking in a vehicle reduces its value at auction

Faced with a fussy market, sellers have to get their big people carriers up to scratch if they want to attract attention

According to Andy Shepherd, Manheim's senior group auctioneer, it's been a good year for large MPVs.

"Throughout 2006 the performance of the large MPV sector has been strong. Over the year we have seen prices increase by over £1200 in comparison with 2005," he says.

Shepherd says that in Q3 vehicles achieved an average of 38% of original selling price, adding that the average age of MPVs seen in the auction halls was 41 months, and that average mileage clocked up by these vehicles has fallen by 2527 over the year to 48,892 miles.

"Many vehicles are coming through the halls with lower than average mileage and in extremely good condition, while the number of MPVs on the used market (chk inc mini_MPVs) has increased this year, making condition more important than ever," says Shepherd.

"Pristine examples are selling quickly and make the strongest prices. Customers can afford to be choosy."

BCA's Simon Henstock explains why this is the case: "The MPV is very much a lifestyle vehicle and it has to be said much of the market has been taken by the highly competitive mini-MPV sector. Consequently the larger MPVs are much more price- and condition-sensitive than they were a few years ago."

Henstock offers the following advice for fleet managers looking to make their vehicles more appealing in the auction halls.

"Loading the car with extras at the front end is not necessarily going to return the same value when the car comes before the rostrum, but it should make it more saleable," he says. "Satnav seems essential these days, even if the car is going no further than the school gates and back again, while leather, tinted glass and alloy wheels add the refinements upmarket buyers require.

"Safety aspects are very important so a full airbag complement is expected and stability control and parking sensors are preferred."

Henstock continues: "Functionality is the key with MPVs, and removable seats and a flexible load space is a boon for the driver." But he warns: "It can also be the car's downfall when it enters the remarketing channel minus a seat and 'load damage' following a run to the council tip. Don't let your seven-seater be sold as a six- or five-seater.

"The fleet manager remarketing the MPV must start with a realistic evaluation on price - rough, hard-worked examples will struggle unless they are competitively priced to sell."