The choice in the van market today is greater than it ever has
been. This is largely as a result of fleets downsizing from 7.5
tonne trucks into more manoeuvrable and economical big vans in the
mid-1990s. This coincided with the birth of internet shopping and
the increased delivery requirements that development
Around that time, in 1995, the Mercedes Sprinter and Volkswagen LT
models were launched, with three wheelbases and two roof heights
plus multiple engine choices too. These days every manufacturer
must offer engine, roof height and wheelbase options if they are to
There is no real optimum combination of length and roof height for
used buyers, although a long- or medium-wheel base with a low roof
is seen as impractical for most purposes, and a short-wheel base
with a high roof is an uncommon combination.
By far the most populous are the MWB and LWB vans with high-roof
and these tend to go into the courier and delivery businesses. A
powerful and reliable engine is top of many buyers’ lists and
buyers still like to know it has been maintained properly.
Versatility is also important for the second user, so one
side-loading door is necessary and two is preferable.
Low-mileage examples are highly prized but exceptionally rare.
Similarly, it is unusual to find MWB/LWB vans in clean straight
condition free from damage – they require no specific qualification
or license to drive and are a big van to the ordinary driver.
However, a short-wheel base van with a low or midi-roof can ‘do a
job’ for most small businesses, so this is where most of the demand
is concentrated. The one tonne, short-wheel base van is the core of
the used light van market.
In terms of body specification, once again a side-loading door is
essential (two is even better) and a bulkhead is seen as necessary
protection for the driver and passengers and essential when
ordering air conditioning. The interior must be protected with
ply-lining to stop inside-out damage.
Those fitted with a tail-gate rather than standard rear-doors will
generally sell at a premium purely through rarity, while glazed
rear doors are not liked, because they are seen as a security risk
for van contents.
It is important that the vehicles’ condition is commensurate with
age and mileage, and pre-sale preparation and, where appropriate,
trade name deletion is critical to this.
Duncan Ward, UK business development manager, BCA