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Long in the tooth but still on the road

Date: 15 May 2015   |   Author: James Dallas

More than half of the 3.8 million vans on the UK's roads are now more than seven years old, according to the SMMT - which Manheim Remarketing said is the highest average age on record.

The firm predicted that the mean age of vans was likely to continue rising for the "foreseeable future" due to a post-recession trend that has seen operators keep hold of their vehicles for longer.

Manheim said the increase in average age had led to the average value of vans sold at its auctions falling £645 year-on-year to £4090 in April.

At 73 months, vans going under the hammer in April were seven months older overall than in March, the largest month-on-month rise since reporting began in 2006.

By contrast mileage has remained relatively flat and in fact dipped marginally between March and April from 81,521 to 80,829 miles.

Matthew Davock, head of vans at Manheim, said: "We believe this older van profile is a reflection of the post-recession period and the realization by businesses that these workhorses, if properly maintained, can run and run."

With light commercial vehicle reliability having steadily improved over recent years, Davock added: "When it comes to months, 84 is definitely the new 60."

In April 2015 Manheim said 39% of the LCVs it sold were small or light vans. While mileage remained flat compared to April 2014 at around 71,000, year-on-year age increased by eight months. Almost half (49%) of vans in this category were aged eight and a half years on average.

Medium panel vans made up a quarter of models auctioned in April, with mileage not varying much from that month's 82,650 over the course of the previous year. Average age, however, was up 10 months to 78 months and 62% of models had an average age of eight and a half years.

Large panel vans accounted for just 14% of April's total. Average age rose by six months year-on-year to 65 months but 36% of the segment had an average age of 10 and a half years.

"The Q1 record new LCV registrations have now largely washed through in terms of the used van de-fleet volumes they created for the wholesale market," Davock said. "Ex-daily rental and ex-contract hire product is now in short supply in the halls. Older stock is the larger proportion of volumes."