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Mini-MPVs: Guard against complacency

Date: 23 January 2007


They largely sell themselves now but increasing volumes, due to their popularity, could drive down prices

Last year was a good year for mini-MPVs.

"This sector has really grabbed the attention of motorists looking for a family car. Roomy without being large, cleverly designed and relatively economical to run, there is no wonder demand has run high for mini-MPVs." comments BCA's Simon Henstock. "In many ways it has pushed both the traditional family saloon and larger people-carrier sectors into the shade."

"The year ended well for the small MPV sector," says Andrew Shepherd, senior auctioneer, Manheim Auctions. "Low mileage models were the star performers of the sector, and we saw more of them entering the market.

"Prices stayed strong for the end of the year, achieving on average 60% of retail value."

But the sector's success doesn't mean sellers should be complacent. Henstock explains: "Remarketing the mini-MPV has been relatively straightforward, due to the high demand from buyers. However, volumes and availability have steadily increased in the marketplace - largely due to the success of these models in the new car market - meaning supply and demand are more finely balanced.

"As always the car must be valued in line with market sentiment, properly prepared and in clean condition to generate maximum interest from buyers. That said, professional buyers will see cars from this sector as a good retail prospect and will bid accordingly."

As always, specification is important, and with the current batch of models offering everything from panoramic roofs to onboard fridges, Henstocks says it's important to choose the options well. "Metallic colours are preferred and nothing too garish - soft reds, pale or dark blues, silvers and greys work well. Alloy wheels are a must and factory-fitted satnav will make the car very saleable down the line."

Manheim's Shepherd adds: "Diesel models continue to sell better than their petrol counterparts, and seven-seat variants are always more sought-after thanks to their added practicality."

However, that practicality, along with the load capability of mini-MPVs, can be their downfall at remarketing time, as Henstock explains: "Drivers are prone to remove seats and the parcel shelf to make way for large loads and sometimes forget to put the various components back. Make sure the car is complete when it is sold, and also check for interior load damage to trim and fittings. With this in mind, an end of service inspection will ensure everything is in place and can be arranged with your remarketing partner."

The longer established benchmark models - Scenic, Picasso and Zafira - all have a healthy following from buyers, with the diesel variants generally favoured. Even with new Picasso due imminently, Henstock says expect the replaced model to remain a steady seller in the used market.

The Ford C-Max has become established as a significant player in the sector, too, according to Henstock. "With used buyers increasingly specification conscious, the Zetec and Ghia variants are favoured."

Henstock concludes: "The new shape 2006 Multipla is not yet around in large numbers, but the few examples we have seen have sold well. Like its quirky predecessor it offers a lot of car for the money and with its 3 + 3 seating arrangement is genuinely different."