Photo of 2011 E-150 cargo van courtesy of Ford.
During a year that has brought several new Euro-style vans to commercial fleets, older-style boxier full-size vans have shown stellar results at auctions. The vehicles should finish the year as the only category that will increase in residual value, while the broader market should depreciate more than 12 percent.
Full-size vans are expected to increase 1.7 percent in value in 2014, while the broader used vehicle market is expected to fall 12.4 percent, according to Ricky Beggs, senior vice president and editorial director at Black Book.
The current strength on used full-size van values corresponds to an economic recovery in the service sector for plumbers, electricians, carpet layers, and other service fleets. These fleets also buy passenger van models and convert them to cargo vans by removing seating. Additionally, the new European-style vans such as the Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit have brought more interest and attention to the category, even though the first used European-style vans won't appear at auctions for at least 12-16 months after being placed into service, according to Beggs.
"There's more demand for that older box van," Beggs said. "It's a good choice for the buyer who's looking for a more reasonable price of entry for that tool."
Almost 233,000 full-size vans have been sold at auction through October in both cargo and passenger models. At the same time a year ago, just over 206,000 had been sold.
Vans make up a higher percentage of used-vehicle sales in the fleet industry. For the seven leading fleet management companies who provide vehicle sales data to Black Book, vans made up 6.6 percent of their sales for 2014. Those fleet management companies recorded a sales mix of 59 percent cargo vans and 41 percent passenger vans, Beggs said.
As the European-style vans begin to arrive into the used-vehicle market in the coming years, they should deliver excellent value to fleets offering them for resale, Beggs said. Black Book forecasted the 2014 models, including the Ram ProMaster, to return 33.5 percent of their value after five years of service. Cargo versions should return 34.1 percent, while passenger models should return 32.5 percent.
By Paul Clinton
Depreciation Returns to the Used-Vehicle Market