HGV Editorial February 2015


Written by: Rob Smith

After a slow start to the year sales activity seems to be gathering pace and judging by recent observations there are plenty of buyers with money to spend. It will take a while to establish if vehicles are being purchased for stock or for a specific application or if the current rush to buy is sustained. Export buyers are more numerous of late, which bodes well for the coming months and dealer sentiment currently is that better things are expected in 2015. The government expects an increase in economic growth and traders expect this to generate increased activity.

The New Year saw plenty of old stock still available, some of which initially appeared in December but failed to sell as businesses wound down for the Christmas holidays. It was a few weeks into the year before new stock began emerging, however much of it followed the pattern of 2014, being mainly vehicles over six years old and most of it having had a hard service life. The odd newer vehicles and any specialist vehicles that appear usually get snapped up. The shortage of newer vehicles continues, anything under four years of age being in short supply and high demand.

Research indicates that generally values have changed little over last month. Exceptions being multi-wheel tippers which remain in demand and continue to attract good values, the other being post 2011 Euro 5 boxes and curtains, particularly 18t examples, where values reflect their scarcity. This month’s edition shows adjusted values to vehicles and trailers where appropriate.

A couple of franchised dealers have already advertised used Euro 6 vehicles for sale. The technology involved in Euro 6 vehicles demands them to be serviced on time, missing or delaying a service not being an option. Failure to service them to the manufacturer’s standard could result in costly repairs further down the line. These being the case, when Euro 6 vehicles start to appear in numbers in the open market in a few years will manufacturer maintained examples demand a premium? 

The average number of auction entries decreased significantly last month but on-the-day sales for trucks rose by 2.2%, whilst for trailers it remained static. As always it should be remembered that these are ‘hammer sales’ on-the-day and any number of provisional bids may be converted post sale. 

SMMT data for 2014 is now complete and it shows that in total over 14,000 fewer vehicles were registered last year than in 2013. If one includes only vehicles of 6t or more this equates to a considerable drop of almost 30%. Details of HGV registrations for the whole of 2014 compared to 2013 are illustrated below.

7.5t to 12t Vehicles

With most examples currently on offer being over eight years old, with the exception of dropsides and tippers only the best examples are selling. Late boxes and curtains are few and far between but sell well when they appear. Beavertails and other specialist vehicles always attract attention and subject to condition usually sell with ease. Fridges dependent on specification are finding new homes but there are currently plenty to choose from and buyers are being more selective.

One example of a specialist vehicle which sold recently was a 2009 09 plate Isuzu N75.190E Cess Vac Tank. Despite it having 319,000 km it sold very well.

13t to 18t Vehicles

With fewer vehicles available and most examples on offer being pre 2008 only the smarter ones are selling. Late model boxes and curtains are virtually non-existent at present and it is tippers and specialist vehicles that generate most interest. Currently skip vehicles are quite popular and generally sell when they appear particularly tidier ones with extendable arms.

Large batches of Mercedes 13t and 15t fridges remain available and whilst buyers have a wide choice of differing specifications sales remain slow. A couple of 2008 road sweepers which appeared at auction attracted plenty of attention and anything with a crane attached provokes strong bidding irrespective of age. 

A small number of ex MOD DAF 65.220 horseboxes is attracting little interest despite having low mileage. Their age and the fact that the buyer needs to re-register them makes them an unattractive proposition.


Tippers top the buyers list in this sector with no sign of interest decreasing. Those with additional equipment such as cranes and grabs are particularly sought after with 8x4 examples attracting most interest. Buyers are currently experiencing a good a supply with a selection from most manufacturers including less numerous models such as the Renault Kerax and Hino 700, but it’s Mercedes that most aspire to.  

Hook-loaders and skips continue to sell but often price reflects condition. Draw-bar outfits and car carrier rigs whilst not plentiful, usually struggle to find buyers. 

Refuse trucks continue to find it difficult to attract bids reflecting anything like their true value. This was highlighted when a 2006 55 plate Dennis Elite 2 6x2 rear lift with Phoenix body and Terberg domestic bin lift sold for a mere £1,800, its sister only attracting a provisional bid of £1,500.

 A couple of older cement mixers on Mercedes and Volvo chassis were sold and a 2007 57 plate Mercedes Axor 3236 8x4 volumetric mixer provoked strong bidding.

Tractor Units 

Vehicles of five to ten years of age are plentiful at present and often struggle to sell, whereas those over ten years old appear to be selling more easily. Anything below five years old are less common and usually attract strong bids when they appear, but not always resulting in a sale. The availability of newer 6x2 vehicles appears to be increasing steadily and we will monitor the situation to see what effect, if any, this has on values.

Both 4x2 and 6x2 variants are selling but the badge on the front, condition, mileage, and specification are becoming more influential on the eventual outcome. 6x4 tractor units are scarce and usually sell without difficulty when they appear.

The export market is starting to take vehicles with automatic gearboxes in greater numbers with the Mercedes Actros attracting prices higher than comparable marques.

The substantial batch of 2009 DAF XF105.460 6x2 space cabs which were struggling a little last month now seem to be finding buyers. A couple of 13 plate Iveco Stralis 450 6x2 space cab tractor units attracted plenty of attention when they appeared at auction. Their low mileage, age and condition helped them sell easily whilst a 2006 MAN TGM15.280 urban tractor unit also attracted strong offers.


Research suggests that the trailer market struggled last month; possibly as a result of trailers required pre-Christmas having already being purchased, leaving boxes and especially curtains and fridges without homes to go to. Those that did sell returned values which were less than impressive. Skeletals also had a difficult time but tippers and to some extent flats remain buoyant by comparison.

Currently the mix and age of trailers available is failing to meet buyer’s demands resulting in many auction entries attracting little attention.

Rob Smith, Red Book Editor - HGV's