I'm sure there's a nifty formula floating around somewhere that can tell us precisely at what point it makes more sense to load up two smaller delivery trucks instead of packing a huge one full as heck and adding a trailer or two. But until we find and use that formula, I'll pass on the ideas from EurotaxGlass's Glass's Guide to Commercial Vehicle Values, which has come out with the recommendation that the popular (in Europe) 3.5 ton panel vans are not the most efficient models for delivery companies to use. George Alexander, Chief Commercial Vehicle Editor at EurotaxGlass's, says in a release that, "A mixed fleet, with a number of 3.5-tonners to tackle the big jobs and smaller vans being utilised where appropriate, might be a more suitable answer for many fleet managers. This approach would lower a company's initial financial outlay, result in stronger residual values, give drivers a pleasant working environment, use less fuel and bring operating efficiencies for well-run fleets."
Alexander's comment will be more difficult to swallow for companies that have already invested in larger trucks, but whoever out there is looking to increase the size of the fleet, don't forget about diversification to save fuel. Read the details after the break.

[Source: EurotaxGlass]
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE FLEETS ARE OVERWEIGHT AND UNDER-LADEN

Fleet operators should review their commercial vehicle needs in order to save themselves money and improve business efficiency, according to EurotaxGlass's. The publisher of Glass's Guide to Commercial Vehicle Values has reported that a large number of fleets do not require the volume and load capacity provided by panel vans with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes, though these are the most commonly selected models in a light commercial fleet.

"A mixed fleet, with a number of 3.5-tonners to tackle the big jobs and smaller vans being utilised where appropriate, might be a more suitable answer for many fleet managers," suggests George Alexander, Chief Commercial Vehicle Editor at EurotaxGlass's. "This approach would lower a company's initial financial outlay, result in stronger residual values, give drivers a pleasant working environment, use less fuel and bring operating efficiencies for well-run fleets."

Watch your weight
Payloads can vary significantly from one large panel van to the next: the highest is currently 1,590kg while the lowest is just 1,369kg. Moreover, vehicles are continuing to gain weight as manufacturers load them with features to enhance safety, practicality and comfort. On certain new models payloads have dropped by almost a quarter of a tonne compared to their predecessors.

"It is ever more important that businesses thoroughly consider their vehicle mix options, in order to ensure that their vehicles are up to the tasks required," notes Alexander. "Enforcement of weight limits and other rules for operating commercial vehicles is now taken very seriously, with substantial fines for any British business that is caught breaking the rules."

Alexander continues, "While shrinking payloads pose problems, users also need to be educated about the need to calculate the weight of their goods to ensure that axles are not over-laden. Additionally, many operators do not know how to properly distribute weight in their vehicles, which presents unnecessary risks."

Used CV market – key trends
George Alexander highlights other key trends in the used CV market:

Used lightweight vans

* In what is a buoyant marketplace for light commercial vehicles, Guide value movements will again be modest this month. Currently, the balance between supply and demand still favours the vendor, but only just. Where too many similar or poorly presented light commercials are offered at one venue, the mood will quickly change.
* Although popular smaller models, such as the Peugeot 206, have recently received more attention from trade buyers, Renault's Kangoo continues to
under-perform.
* At auction, late-year ex-utility Ford Connects and Vauxhall Combos with side loading doors continue to be popular with both the retail and trade buyer. All cleanly presented examples will achieve indicated Glass's Guide Trade levels, with those better, low-mileage examples performing closer to Top Guide.

Used panel vans

* Trade buyers are continuing to pay exceptionally firm prices for Volkswagen T5 Transporters and Mercedes-Benz Vitos as the volume becoming available remains low.
* Similarly, when appearing in small numbers, models like Renault's Trafic and older-style Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert vans command Guide Trade with ease.
* Ford Transit 260 and 280 are proving to be especially popular, with buyers preferring the latter with 100PS. Following a mixed summer trading period, the past couple of weeks have seen the trade's appetite for such models reignited, together with any clean, early-year Japanese stock. Additionally, any tidy older van, even with high but warranted mileage, will attract interest from used buyers who are struggling to locate the vans that their customers require.
* Market sentiment for late-year 3.5 tonne panel vans remains high, primarily due to long lead-times when buying new. There is unlikely to be any significant downward movement in used prices this side of Christmas because the best retail stock will remain rare.
* A few latest model Peugeot Boxers, Transits and Mercedes-Benz Sprinters are now appearing on the open market. Encouragingly, they are generating significantly higher prices than the out-going models.
* There are numerous examples of slightly older 3.5 tonne vans in a range of conditions and with varying mileages that, in the current climate, sell easily at prices close to Guide Disposal.
* Tippers and dropsiders continue in good form and, with the best lutons being in short supply, prices are strong. For nearly every well-specified derivative on a 3.5 tonne chassis, the longer-body model will consistently outperform its shorter counterparts with crewcab versions generating plenty of interest.
* Demand is growing for dual purpose or window-styled vans, particularly if they are Transporters or Vitos. When offered with a high specification, alloys and unblemished paintwork, prices rise quickly.
* Leading up to Christmas, minibuses will generate more interest amongst buyers who will typically pay a premium to secure the best stock. However, whereas luxury-style buses will retain more of their residual worth if disposed of in the New Year, more conventional 12- and 15-seaters will lose any premium paid now.

Used heavyweights

* The market for rigid chassis and tractor units remains upbeat with very little to suggest an imminent weakness in sentiment that would cause problems.
* Prices remain strong for all late-year models, particularly tractor units where an acute shortage of Euro 3s, long lead-times on Euro 4s and the changeover to digital tachographs compound to support used prices.
* A number of 02/52-plated DAF XF95.430 6x2 units made Guide Trade or just over, with trade sentiment running high for all stock including Royal Mail trucks and tractor units, which are now proving more popular.
* Still holding firm is the ever-dependable export trade that supports values at earlier years and removes a significant number of older tractor units and trailers from these shores. Recently, a selection of small 2/3-car transporters proved very popular, as did a 04/04-plated 180E240 refrigerated box that made £22,300.
* We are also seeing good vehicles that are in short supply attracting several competing bidders, therefore moving the price from a trade to a retail level. Tippers probably exemplify this most clearly at auction, with a 97/P 85.330 8x4 at £8,400, a 98/R 85CF340 8x4 at £9,900 and a 01/Y CF75.290 6x4 at £16,500, each well above Guide Trade. More disappointingly, a clean 02/52 Daewoo Avia D75 4x2 chassis made just £4,550.

Used trailers

* Across the trailer auctions it is tippers of all ages that again lead the way, with any clean lot selling at the first time of asking. In most guises, low-loaders are proving to be extremely popular, with skeletal and flat trailers not far behind. Whatever the body type, all late-year offerings are currently taking centre stage as the market's appetite for such desirable stock far exceeds what is available.
* Increased interest in refrigerated boxes has ensured that the best are selling easily at more stable prices. The only consistently weak area is to be seen with boxes and curtainsiders, where any sign of abuse translates directly into poor prices. However, if clean and tidy with minimal damage, these problems go away. In all cases, tri-axle 13.6m step-framers come out on top, well ahead of tandem axle forty-footers.


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