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Bran D

State of the UK vehicle sales market

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This is not a plug for advertising but a question as I am very surprised at the low level of response from UK vehicle buyers. I have just renewed adverts for 2 of my vehicles, a Saladin and a Drops, which I am sure are competitively priced and in good condition, but have received a low level of interest from the UK.

We often see vehicles advertised for silly money as people try it on, but I have genuinely tried to be reasonable with the prices quoted in the adverts.

It has amazed me that there is so little response from buyers in the UK, or is there really that little money around for post war vehicles?

What do you think?

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Hi all; It is not just the UK. Stateside we are seeing an oversupply of good restored military vehicles. Probably due to an aging group of veterans, and our economy. I know of club members spending $200 a week to restore a jeep, because their spouse would not let them spend $15,000 usd for a restored one. The result would be the same, but the money is not 'seen'. Later Newc in Oregon

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Id like to buy your drops but finances say No....

I only got my stolly by chance

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It’s an interesting question you ask, I’ve restored and owned Military vehicles now for 20 years and in that time have bought, sold, restored and kept any number of vehicles and I do buy vehicles (I’m lucky to have lots of undercover space) when the mood takes me and I think the price is right (I currently have around 8 or 9 in various states and am focusing on WW2 stuff). I have also been in the motor industry all of my life so have lots of experience selling vehicles both from dealerships and online (my previous role involved selling 1,400 cars a month online) so I would say I know something about how to market vehicles and how much they sell for. I always follow the military vehicle market and prices closely so have an opinion.

 

I can’t talk about your vehicles as I don’t know the prices and I’m sure you will have them reasonably priced so I maybe being very unfair to you. So talking generally I do think the general market has over priced itself.

 

It’s due to the limited numbers of vehicles available for sale at any one time and no ‘book’ price to go by. For example say a Dodge WC (any in the range currently) which I think is a prime candidate (I could give you specifics of many others but I won’t as some are currently on the market so it wouldn’t be fair of me) somebody puts one up for sale for £10k because its newly restored and great and the seller wants as much back as they can, its likely to be the only one on the market in any given week so sets a bench mark. The next seller puts theirs up for £12k on the guess that the last one must have sold so they want more, however the £12k one is average. Then the next one for sale is £14k but is worst condition than the £12k one. Therefore you have gone from a perfect, great one at £10k to a rough one at £14k in a few months and the buyers say ‘that’s what it’s worth’, maybe somebody pays the money, maybe they don’t but I guess most actually sell for a lot less. Ultimately the market won’t bear higher prices and they don’t sell but people think the price is what they are worth.

 

As has been commented then mix in an ageing buyer base, people unfortunately passing away which results in vehicles on the market and many, many more restorations taking place now than in previous years (I have 3 on the go currently which may have been scraped years ago as too far gone) and you have a confused market where nobody knows the true value.

 

The next complexity is size, your Saladin and DROPs are like my Autocar, GMC & Diamond T, large, so it restricts the number of buyers to a handful so you maybe lucky and buyers are in the market or if not the phone doesn’t ring at any price and you are left wondering.

 

Unusual vehicles also struggle to sell unless there is one buyer in the market as they scare the average buyer. I have a Land Rover, Series 3, Stage 1 V8, 6 x 6 Sandringham 6, factory built and one of only 6 or so genuine ones left. Its fully restored by me and just needs some finishing off which amounts to about a week’s work. Its defied selling at any price to the point that I’ve put in in the corner under a sheet for another day. I have had many, many people interested even to the point of Land Rover magazines wanting to do articles but only because it’s very rare and they want photos or the chassis number to put in a register, but no buyers.

 

Jeeps are of course the easiest thing to price, there are lots of them as benchmarks, there are lots of buyers, they fit in an average garage and are cheap to own. But even these have dropped around £3,000 from late last summer as the price race happened here as well and slightly over cooked the market, however they will bounce back over time and more in line with inflation. The same could be said of Land Rovers currently.

 

In my mind it’s a falling market mainly because it has raced ahead too quickly (don’t even start me on WW2 Armour prices !!!) and I think it’s likely to continue slowing further as the limited number of buyers are ‘full’ and not many new buyers come to market. Anything much over £10k moves into a specialist market and out of many buyers pockets.

 

I think the days of quick profits are gone and I won’t like to be a business having overheads and labour costs to cover unless you can buy restoration jobs really cheaply.

 

What I would say is if your vehicles are in good condition (nobody likes to do work), you think they are reasonably priced and the ads are detailed and reflect the vehicles well (very important) maybe it’s just that today there are no buyers around and you can’t change that, it’s just a waiting game.

 

I hope that’s been of some help and not confused you too much.

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I have had an eye on the vintage vehicle/machinery market for 30 odd years, remember when a Hotchkiss jeep was dear at 300 notes.

The only observation I will relate is; if house prices are on the up then all but the most desirable vintage vehicle stuff takes the fall, when property goes into crisis then the top echelon of vintage stuff gives a flutter then while the property market has a flat spot decides what to do, vintage stuff starts to make silly money and these periods are when the prices generally inflate.

Military surplus stuff has always been a bit odd (not so much these days) as sometimes large amounts of materiele used to be released at once so until the glut was absorbed into the scene certain parts of the market would be way down but non-vehicle militaria I would say has just grown steadily over the years.

However I hope that makes sense and my conclusion is house prices are on the up at the mo.

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I think a lot is down to what you are trying to sell and what people are after. For instance at the moment there is high demand for Scammell Explorer's. Rare to see one up for sale for more than 48 hrs. Same for timber tractors. Why the demand is there for those and not for other vehicles I don't know. Some is probably due to people always having wanted one and some is probably due to seeing a number of good examples on the rally field. I do think a lot of it comes down to what you see around and what they are doing.

 

A lot of civvy stuff is going for good prices at the moment and still going up so the money is out there. But I have seen a lot of military stuff up for some high prices and maybe that puts people off the whole market.

 

Ed

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it is the way of the world....everyone wants to make money when they sell something, some think they can live off the profits of it a business, these people can drive prices up, especially for spares...this can then increase the prices of restored vehicles.....

 

greed hangs around anything like this....

 

but you cannot blame people for wanting to make money..and you cannot blame people for not wanting to pay anything for it...truth is supply and demand is not matched at the moment.

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My own view is that there is a bit of a "garage factor". Big, complicated expensive to buy and difficult to store machinery will have a very limited market, whereas small simple and expensive machinery (that will fit in your garage) will have a better one, especially when, over time, the latter have a decent track record of holding their value.

 

The second key factor is the "wife factor". I sense that this will need no explanation whatsoever........

 

Bearing in mind the alleged state of the economy the classic vehicle business is in surprisingly rude health, but that is not an across-the-board statement; rather too much of it is still fuelled by a degree of speculative trade (especially at the top end where profits are free from capital gains tax). The two vehicles that you have on the market are superb and I could certainly give the Saladin a home; but for the same sort of money I could probably sort myself out a very classic sports car, tartan picknic blanket, two folding chairs and thermos flask.

 

Stick with it I would say - or alternatively, if you really really want to test the market, just keep dropping the price till they are irresistible!

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As others have said it is supply and demand, the value some owners are now putting on their vehicles and desirability of the product being sold.

 

A good example is the UK Carrier market which has seen prices go through the roof recently resulting in a large number of vehicles in varying condition coming on to the market all being valued by their owners at the same price. This has included T16's which have never attracted the value of Universals because they only saw limited use with the Canadians reducing their desriabilty. Not surprisingly the vehicles are not selling at the prices demanded.

 

I owned a very nice Saladin as well which I could not sell due to the limited market and I ended up selling to Withams.

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It is a game driven in recent years by forums such as this one , sale valuations on asking prices - if you don't ask high , then you don't get high.

Conventional cars of most types , you can pay for expert opinion and prior to purchase inspection / valuation , as has always been the case with the better stuff.

Unfortunately most military - is very specialized for type & time-line , those competent "specialists" by nature tend to be very narrow-minded , they can't see the big picture. Therefore the financial danger (unless you build up slowly) - try opening a door and entering a dark room..

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personally I think Withams are part of the problem..they have a glutt of stuff and are drip feeding the market at high prices then once the big payers are done, selling stuff at lower prices destroying the market...look at the DROPs, they are a prime example...loads of them available, they were 10k plus once, now heading fast to 5 k...I bought mine at top money 12k I will never see that back..

 

also the DVLA and VOSA have their part to play, always hassling the motorist always interfering, I have personally given up registering vehicles because of the palaver it has become, registering taxing and sorning.

 

It all adds up to a not very pleasant market in the UK, with too many people dipping their hands in the water of an enthusiasts market and thinking they can pull out a plum all the time, too many regulations aimed at taking money off us. all the time we are being fleeced by one or the other...

 

reality is coming to our industry...

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All very good points made above. I think I will test the market with the Drops on ebay to see what the going price is. With the Saladin I have some interest from other countries so will see what happens there.

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all very interesting, I was only thinking the other day that perhaps we could start a thread on vehicle values as a guide, a bit like the page in CMV magazine, though it always annoyed me there were never any ww2 British prices.

 

as you will have guessed WW2 British is my interest and there is a hungry market for good examples of Bedford's, Morris's, Austin's and Humber's............

 

perhaps we could all input what we feel would be a reasonable price for various vehicles, an average could be worked out ?

 

just a thought.

 

Jules

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but the money is not 'seen'.
ain't that the truth!

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I think that the huge increase in prices in the MV market was actually to do with abnormally low interest rates, and the returns people were getting on their savings. I think the same effect has been felt on the classic car market for the same reason.

 

If you had savings in the bank and your only getting a 0.5% return, you think, what the hell, I am going to buy myself the vehicle I have always wanted (you persuade you wife its a good idea), then when you need your money back you think you can just sell it again. This surplus cash/savings in people pockets fuelled the increase in values, then as values increase people think they are investments, further fuelling the problem.

 

Then when everyone has spent all their savings, the buyers dry up, the crash will be when interest rates go back up and people need to put the cash back in the bank or they get old and need the cash to pay for retirement and care. Then there is a glut of vehicles for sale and prices will drop. Prices have perhaps not dropped but they have levelled out, the drop will come in a few years when people need their savings to live.

 

The same thing has applied to the 'buy to let' market, the average return on a buy to let in the UK is 6.1%, before you take out your costs. A few years ago you could pretty much earn that with your money just sitting in the bank. The fact you cannot do that now has made a buy to let more attractive, increasing demand, prices and the shortage of homes for those who want to buy their own....etc etc.

 

Now we are all so hooked on cheap borrowing, the road back to normality is so painful we could be stuck here forever!! hahaha!

 

I actually met a guy last year, who was fed up not earning anything on his savings, he had spent nearly all his savings buying a pair of vintage shotguns, the ones he had always dreamed of. He said 'their a great investment and worst case scenario when I need my money back I can just sell them, but a least I can say I owned a pair and why not'. I just thought to myself, Ok whatever!

 

The final point is of course one that has been around for ever, things are always easy to buy and difficult to sell!!

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That's obviously the answer - get your vehicle advertised on the Daily Mail!

 

Andy

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Maybe its something to do with the vehicles that are for sale

It is I would suggest a very niche market within a niche market

People will have a Jeep or a Dodge or a Land Rover because they are easy to drive, maintain, store etc etc

A DROPS and a Saladin are big, complex and not easy to store (thats before you get into the driving licence, taxation class discussions)

And maybe do not inspire peoples imagination as other vehicles do, lets face it DROPS are still I believe in service

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I'm currently looking for a Jeep to restore because I don't have the money for a complete and restored example. I also enjoy doing it my self (Which could be a reason why restored MVs don't always fetch the prices people expect) and so I've been watching ebay for a suitable Ford or Willys. What I have noticed is that the same examples come up with a reserve that isn't met and the bidding peters out at about £3000 to £3500. The reserve appears to be around the £4500 mark and so the vehicle doesn't sell. At the end of the day, the buyers are driving the market and it's only worth what some one will pay.

 

And on that note, anyone know where there is a restorable jeep for £3000 -£3500?

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In answer to the jeep question - nope. I have been looking for one for a customer for a while now and even the ones in the States are getting pricey. In my humble opinion the current state of the market suggests a start price of around 5k, and even that will need key bits finding.

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Understand the popularity of the jeep, but restoration costs are not easy...we are about to repair an MK cab, new cabs are available but cost plus 1000 pounds, repairs will be close to half that...it is clear that restoration is very very expensive, and if you really want it to be high quality you have to think it is going to take time. We do it by running multiple projects and work on each project in parallel, cant work on the truck whilst its drying for instance so we work on other things, this reduces our restoration prices to our customers but in the end restoration is never cheap...we all know that. we currently have an M62, a Foden a Munga a riley RME a Striker and a a few other museum toys plus now the MK....we will fit it all in so we do not have to charge silly money but realistic money..that is still not cheap...

 

trying to recover restoration costs has always been virtually impossible so people have to be realistic. there has been a bit of a glut as many people have fallen for top gear rubbish and other articles in the press about their values...but I think the true collectors and owners out their know what they will and wont pay and that keeps prices sensible...

 

said it before, too many people thinking this industry is a cash cow...I really don't think it is...

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I have personally discovered how to make a small fortune from restoring old MV's.

you start off with a large one !

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I have personally discovered how to make a small fortune from restoring old MV's.

you start off with a large one !

 

LOL very true Rick.. I think there are just too many vehicles out there for the number of buyers. Almost every week I see something which I think is a great deal and really want to buy, but then I think about it and remember that I have too much stuff already plus a full time job plus 2 kids..!

 

For somebody coming into the hobby for the first time though it would be a great time, but taking on armour as opposed to a jeep or Landy will always be a big ask for a first timer...

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if you look carefully to the financial development in the last 150 years, you will notice two worrying things. First of all period between financial crisis getting shorter and short Secondly the duration of the crises are getting longer. Conclusion we will end up in a continue crisis, if we don't change things.

 

The system is just not working any more for the current world. We see the last move, before it wil die with lot of finical pain for everybody.

 

Not optimistic but it is what is and it has nothing to do with the Euro it is global

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