Secondhand light commercial vans are in demand, but if you really want to maximise sales value pay attention to the specification and the colour

The used market for light vans is extremely buoyant and has been for the past quarter – that’s according to Alex Wright, sales director, commercial vehicles at Manheim Auctions.

Wright says: “This sector has a real mix of traders and end users scrapping for the vehicles on sale, and a shortage of stock plus the consistent demand from buyers has seen vehicles, regardless of condition or mileage, make very strong used prices. And any vehicles that we have seen in tidy condition and with sensible mileage flies out of the halls, achieving prices way above CAP average and attracting multiple bids.

“In the current marketplace little attention is paid to specification; however, any additional features such aircon or electric windows will only add to its success at resale time.”

But Duncan Ward, BCA’s UK business development manager, places greater emphasis on the value of spec: “That and power become much more important with the buyer likely to be a self-employed tradesperson or small-business owner. In-van entertainment and aircon are highly prized.

Ward continues: “For ease of access in urban conditions, one side-loading door is a must, and two is preferable. Vans with load-retaining bulkheads are favoured as buyers are increasingly safety conscious. Ply-lining is also valued to stop ‘inside-out’ damage. The very rare examples fitted with a tailgate – about 1% BCA estimates – will always make exceptional money.”

BCA is selling 2004 Citroen Berlingo 1.9D four-door models for around £2750 at 50,000 miles and even high-mileage examples (90k+) will sell for around £2300. Add a side loading door, however, and values can rise sharply – 0404 examples are making £3400 at 40,000 miles. Buyers, too, prefer the 2.0 HDi to the 1.9 engine just because it delivers a bit more power.

The Vauxhall Combo also remains popular, with an 0404 Di five-door model averaging over £3000 at 46,000 miles. Add a second side loading door, however, and values rise to over £3800 for an 0404 Di at 55,000 miles.

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According to Manheim, other sought after models include the Ford Transit Connect. BCA’s Ward agrees: “We are only now beginning to see an easing of prices for Connect as the market starts to see some bigger volumes from corporate fleets. It’s certainly been a long honeymoon for the model and well-specced examples remain highly desirable. 2004-registered SWB examples with a side loading door and around 50,000 miles are averaging up to £4000.”

According to BCA, Renault’s Kangoo remains popular and good examples will generally outperform guide prices. BCA is selling 0404 1.5 DCi vans for £3300 at 47,000 miles – that’s ahead of CAP Clean.

“The Astravan is another favourite and the new model was eagerly anticipated when it launched at BCA Nottingham in February,” says Ward. “Strong bidding saw values outstrip expectations with an 1.7 CDTI Club in Black Sapphire selling for £9100 and a 1.9 CDTI Sportive 120PS in Moonland realise £9650. The old shape still sells well and the Sportive models really tick every box in the used market and are highly desirable. Even high mileage examples can make strong money – BCA Auction View is showing 0454-registered 2.0 DTi Sportive models averaging over £3600 at 101,000 miles – that’s over CAP Clean.”

Despite Manheim stating that a buoyant market means light vans are selling whatever the condition, Ward insists it’s still an area worth paying close attention to: “The van becomes a travelling billboard for the new owner’s business, so presentation and condition is important, with a high-quality trade name deletion essential. An increasing number of volume corporate sellers are now preparing their vans to the highest standards, including a machine-operated polish and even cold metal repairs on any dings and dents. In a competitive marketplace anything to give your vehicles an edge is worth considering.”