Mercedes-Benz Comment Oct 2018

Robert Redman

19 Oct 2018, Blog Post

Part-exchange change

The used car auction market had a busy September, continuing the trend seen through most of the year. The total sold volume was up 5.5% compared with August, and 5.8% higher than September 2017, contributing to a year-to-date total sold volume 4.9% higher than the same point last year. This reflects the strong new car sales seen over the last few years. However, even with lower 2018 new car registrations than 2017, it is good to see the used car market is holding up well. Despite the growth in volume, the first time conversion rate for September was higher than August, up 4.8% to 84.5%, although lower than the 87.8% recorded for September 2017.

Mercedes-Benz saw similar trends at auction. Their sold volume was up 8.2% over August, whilst their first time conversion rate of 87.2% was 4.2% higher than the previous month. This was only slightly lower than the 87.4% achieved in September 2017, and remains comfortably higher than the overall market average. Most of the ranges improved their conversion rate month-on-month, with the top five being as follows:

Best 1st Time Conversion

 

 

 

Position

Range

1st time Conversion

1

GLC-Class

96.2

2

B-Class

91.8

3

A-Class

90.7

4

E-Class

90.2

5

GLE Class

88.4

These are the usual suspects, although the E-Class has replaced the C-Class this month, and with the weather finally starting to turn it looks like there will not be a convertible in the list this year – it is more likely we will see another SUV join the table next month as buyers start to think of the impending winter weather.

The G-Class has always been a bit of an oddity in the Mercedes-Benz line-up. Its distinctive boxy styling has never fitted in with the contemporary Mercedes-Benz styling language and it has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1979. As it is still in production, that makes the G-Class the longest running model in the range, and with a new generation recently launched it will comfortably pass its 40th birthday next year. Surprisingly, given its length of production, there have only been 3 generations of the G-Class so far:

  • 460 – 1979-1990. SWB 3dr, SWB 2dr convertible, LWB 5dr. 2.3L to 2.8L petrol and 2.4L to 3.0L diesel engines, with manual and automatic transmissions. Relatively utilitarian (for a Mercedes-Benz anyway) reflecting the expectation that it would have a rather more practical usage than the rest of the line-up.
  • 463 – 1990 – 2018. SWB 3dr, SWB 2dr convertible, LWB 5dr. 5.0L to 6.0L petrol and 2.9L to 4.0L diesel engines, with only automatic transmissions. Due to the demand for more comfortable versions, specification was more luxurious and closer to that of its saloon siblings. During its production lifetime – an incredible 28 years – specification has become increasingly more luxurious and latterly matched an S-Class. In 1999 the first AMG version, the G55 AMG, was introduced, featuring a 354hp 5.4L supercharged V8 and typical AMG-revised styling. 6 years later, the engine was replaced with a 469hp version, which in turn was itself upgraded to 500hp in 2007. In the meantime, 2002 saw the introduction of the G63 AMG, fitted with a 438hp 6.3L V12 engine. The various engines continued to evolve through the lifetime of the 463, and by the time of its 2012 update, the range was simplified to the 350 BlueTec (208hp Turbo V6 diesel) and the G63 AMG (537hp 5.5L BiTurbo V8) and G65 AMG (604hp 6.0L BiTurbo V12).
  • W463 – 2018 onwards. LWB 5dr. 4.0BiTurbo V8. Longer and wider than the previous version, but 170kg lighter, the styling was only slightly revised – it has become something of an iconic style now. Changes under the skin were more extensive, with the rigid front axle of the 463 being replaced with a much more modern independent arrangement, although the solid rear axle remains. The interior has also been improved, and features the wide screen digital display seen in other models such as the E-Class and S-Class.
  • There have been a few special editions of the G-Class, mainly based on the AMG variants. The most dramatic was probably the G63 AMG 6x6 – a 3 axle, 6 wheel-drive limited edition with increased ground clearance courtesy of portal axles, a fording depth of 1M and a total of five differential locks. The extended body had an open rear bed, making it a very expensive, very luxurious double cab pickup.

Values of use G-Class have always been relatively strong. Even the very early examples are priced from around £12,000, and values climb quickly for newer and well-specified examples. The AMG variants start at around £44,000 and can reach a quarter of a million pounds for a G500 4x4 Brabus.

Turning to the used car retail market, Glass’s Live Pricing Data, which measures the length of time vehicles remain on the forecourt, reported that the average length of stay for the general market in September was 38.0 days, which was an improvement of 2.8 days over August. Mercedes-Benz as a whole showed a similar improvement, down 2.3 days to an average of 37.7 days. About half of the ranges improved their average, with the GLA-Class showing the biggest movement – down a substantial 19.8 days to an average of 26.9 days. This was also the shortest average stay on the forecourt. The S-Class reported the longest average stay at 60.9 days, narrowly beating the 60.6 days of the SL-Class.

Given how busy September has been, it is likely that the used car auction market will have a busy October as well. Volumes are expected to remain relatively strong, so as long as demand continues to keep up then values should also hold up well.

About the author

Robert Redman

Robert RedmanForecast Editor

Robert is responsible for forecasting Glass’s future car values right across the market. He has been involved in the motor industry for almost 30 years, most recently as Passenger Car Risk Specialist in the Residual Value and Portfolio Department at Mercedes-Benz UK. He has also held key roles at Leasedrive, Masterlease, Vauxhall Masterhire,Leasecontracts,GE Fleet Services – and has also worked as a specialist classic car restorer.