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As the used truck and van market gets back on its feet, CM looks at who is selling used vehicles and what they are offering.
Words: Kevin Swallow Ifused trucks and vans needed endorsing as a
sound investment, they couldn't have got a bigger boost than the news that two major operators are turning towards the used market for their latest purchases Ritchie Transport and Saints Transport recently bought more than 80 trucks from the used market as fleet replacements. It's common knowledge that the used market can provide a viable alternative to new vehicles, but it is also known that sought-after stock is drying up.
Continued demand is pushing up used values so the window of opportunity for operators to buy used at an advantageous price is shrinking. The outlets for picking up a second-hand van or truck are pretty straightforward: franchised and independent dealerships, auction houses, classified ads, websites and word of mouth.
Dealers come in three types: manufacturer-owned franchise, independent franchise or independent. Manufacturer-owned used dealerships, in theory, enjoy cherry picking from ex-lease vehicles that have been financed in-house with guaranteed return or buy-back agreements.
The stock is mostly younger, in better condition and with service history. It will be offered with pre-made finance packages, specific deals if it's one of a range de-fleeted from a blue-chip company, as well as readily available repair and maintenance deals. Although relatively pricey, these dealers trade on peace of mind and backup through a nationwide network of service agents.
The usual buying places
Independently-owned franchises with used outlets trade on identical points as their manufacturer-owned counterparts. However, with the bottom-line in house, they tend to be more aggressive, hungrier and leaner operations willing to go the extra mile to find stock and make deals.They will offer manufacturer-backed deals as well as finance through other outlets, with the same front-line servicing and back-up.The independents tend to be entrepreneurs who have built hefty businesses, who are very competitive and willing to work hard to get your custom, investing time and effort for the right rewards.
As a buyer, you will need to know a few things about the second-hand market, in order to avoid picking up a lemon: rolling stock in this sector will come in from operators who owned and maintained their fleets, part exchanges and quality snatch-backs from unfortunate operators failing to meet their bills.
Many indie dealers know the industry inside out, will focus on niche markets and pride themselves on repeat custom.'lhey'll source from anywhere to get the best for their customer and will offer back-up if a major component breaks sooner rather than later.
Other ways to purchase your vehicle
These days auction houses have shed their reputation for punting shoddy leftovers that dealers won't touch. Many cite finance houses, rental and lease companies, and manufacturers too, as customers, as well as smaller fleet operators. Auction houses have made great strides in increasing buyer and seller confidence and they have led the way in harnessing the internet so buyers hundreds of miles away can bid live for stock going under the hammer.
One thing to look for is the Saturday sale, normally generated by hauliers calling it a day some quality stock is available in "must-go-today' auctions. Both trade and end users buy at auction in equal numbers, as well as the overseas buyers coming in to export.
Word of mouth is pretty much that a lot of independents will see a truck and already have an operator in mind before buying it. If you trust a dealer to do the looking, then you can get a truck without the hassle of searching for it. it