Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders this week have shown that Vauxhall sold the most amount of vans during 2012 compared to any other manufacturer. This means that Vauxhall is the favourite manufacturer for commercial vans for the second year in a row, and they also topped the monthly retail sales charts in March, April, September and December.
Around eleven thousand vans were sold by Vauxhall in 2012, meaning that its market share was an impressive 16.11%. Vauxhall claimed that its success was down to its great deals including four years’ 0% APR finance, four years’ free servicing, a four year warranty, and four years’ AA cover, which they are planning to continue into 2013, meaning that the popularity of Vauxhall vans is sure to stay. The British built Vauxhall Vivaro also managed to top the retail medium van segment for the second year in the row, which is great news for the UK car manufacturing industry.
Unsurprisingly, the firm was delighted to find out that they gained the lead in the market for the second year in the row, with Richard Collier, Vauxhall’s national commercial vehicle sales manager saying: “Despite an increasingly competitive market, Vauxhall continues to provide customers with compelling offers supported by high-quality, fuel-efficient vans with low running costs and superb manufacturer support.”
The fact that Vauxhall offers so many after-care services and deals means that van owners only need to cover the costs of the initial deposit and van insurance and then they can be on the road straight away. This could be one of the reasons why Vauxhall is the UK’ largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles and built half a million units last year alone. Furthermore, the company not only lead the market in commercial vehicle sales, but also took the number one spot overall for car registrations in December, with a 13.7% market share.
Fleet managers and private buyers have always considered the “What Van” Van of the Year awards as a good guide to determine what vehicle they will get van insurance quotes on when the time comes to update their van or stock. This year British vans did exceptionally well winning 50% of the categories up for grabs.
The trend was set once again by the UK built Ford Transit; not for the first time it was declared Van of the Year, and who in the commercial vehicle trade would argue with such a decision. Year after year the Transit easily attracts more buyers than any other van in the UK and winning the accolade in the year production in the UK has been halted seems to be a fitting tribute to the much loved vehicle. British success did not stop there however, the Vauxhall Corsavan won Small Van of the Year and the Ford Ranger came away with the pickup of the year award.
Specialist categories saw the much vaunted Mini Clubvan come away with the Editors Choice award and the Vauxhall Ecoflex quietly drove away with the Green award. What Van Editor, Paul Barker, was delighted with the night’s proceedings and thought all those who came out on top were worthy winners. He said: “All those honoured are testament to the quality of the light commercial vehicle market. Despite a tough last few years, the offering for van users and operators has continued to evolve and is better now than ever before.”
Other winners on the night included the Fiat Doblo in the Light Van of the Year category, the Iveco Daily which won the Large Van of the Year award, and the Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 which ran away with the 4×4 Van of the Year section. Mercedes also won the safety award while Emerald Automotive shone through and won the Innovative award.
Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles customer Plantire believe current rules regarding the Congestion Charge in London are unfair on the sort of businesses the Mayor of London says he supports. They feel the rules do not provide the same incentive for any firm who uses low-emission vans as it does for cars.
Currently, anyone who uses a car with emissions below 100g/km CO2 does not have to pay the city’s Congestion Charge. However, light commercial vans less than 3.5 tonnes with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions do have to pay what is a substantial amount over the course of a year. Vauxhall’s Corsavan 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX achieves emissions of just 89g/km CO2, exactly the same as the equivalent 5-door Corsa, but unlike the car, van owners have to pay the Congestion Charge of £10 per day. Plantire is a hoist hire firm based near Heathrow and run two Corsavans as service vehicles. Each van makes around six journeys each week into the Congestion Charge zone which costs the company in the region of £3,000 per annum. It is a cost they feel unjustified when they have made the effort to convert to low emission vehicles.
John Tocher, Plantire’s general manager, said “Although we knew when we ordered the Corsavans that they were not exempt, we felt sure that Transport for London would change the exemption. It makes sense that if cars with emissions under 100g/km CO2 are exempt, vans emitting less than 100g/km CO2 shouldn’t have to pay the Congestion Charge either. We chose the Vauxhall Corsavan ecoFLEX because of its low running costs and to reduce our carbon footprint. We love that it has clever green technology like Start/Stop and although we have noticed fuel cost savings, having to pay the Congestion Charge is almost negating these savings and seems grossly unfair.”
Despite the exclusion of the vans from Transport for London’s green transport initiative, the Mayor of London has expressed support for drivers who typically cover their vehicles with commercial vehicle insurance many times, describing them as the lifeblood of the streets of the capital. Vauxhall are confident that their Corsavan ecoFLEX will eventually be exempt from the congestion charge, something that Corsa ecoFLEX customers currently enjoy.
A South Yorkshire plumbing, heating and ventilation firm are making sure their business does not go down the drain by buying new vans for their workforce to go about their daily business.
Mid-Air Site Services have been in business for 9 years now and in that time have seen their business mushroom from being a small family firm serving a small local clientele, to a company that does work the length and breadth of the UK, and is now moving in to Europe. The company is still run by a father and son team but a loyal group of workers and other members of the family have turned the business into a tight knit success.
The company have always kept their fleet of commercial vehicles in good repair but have now splashed out on a fleet of new Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive vans to facilitate the company’s expansion.
Managing Director, Stuart Slack, said: “The new vans are the key to our continued success. Our business is measured by our customers on quality and reliability. We are in an industry dependent on repeat business and those two qualities along with value for money are the pre-requisites to success. The vans are expensive but we think they are worth it. We have looked around and got a great deal on commercial vehicle insurance and that is a big help, especially with the overseas cover.”
In the last few months the company have quoted for jobs in Germany, Poland Belgium and Ireland and they are now waiting for the go ahead to start work on the Polish contract. The vans will soon be heading overseas as the workforce headed by Mr Slack set about installing fire protection equipment into the ventilation systems of a printing plant on the Polish/Ukraine border.
Despite the new car market still being on the slide, van dealers have rather more reasons to be cheerful. Last month saw a 7.8% jump in sales for the van market, crowning an excellent twelve months in which the sector grew almost 17%.
According to the latest figures from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) a huge 260,153 vans were registered during the year and December contributed 18,415 to the total. Despite the good year no one involved in the commercial van sector is being complacent. They want the Coalition Government to deliver its growth strategy which will help both strengthen business and consumer confidence. Research for the whole of 2011 also shows that companies who have upgraded their vans are also looking for cheaper van insurance to try and save some money while at the same time making sure their commercial vans have good protection in the event of an accident.
SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “2011 was a year of consistent growth in the market. Renewed business confidence fuelled the month-on-month rises, while innovative developments in vehicle design and technologies provided solid business reasons for companies to upgrade their vehicles in 2011.”
Vauxhall topped the monthly sales charts in January, March, April, July, September and October and by the end of December they had earned themselves a record 16% market share. While Ford’s Transit remained the best-selling commercial van, as it has since they launched the first version in 1965, Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles topped the sales chart for the first time. The 12,000 vans sold by the Luton based manufacturer was up a huge 29% on the previous year. Sales of its Vivaro van alone climbed a massive 58%. It was not all good news though as the number of the smallest sub 2-litre vans dropped of 4%, while the pickup sector also dropped by 2.5%.
The changes to the LEZ (London Low Emission Zone) are less then seven months away and Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles are offering any owner of an older van the chance to take advantage of the special discounts on offer from their range.
From January next year all vans which are 3.5 tonnes and below and were registered as new before January 02 will no longer have the luxury of being exempt from daily London Low Emission Zone charges. Vauxhall want to help the owners of commercial vans which will be ten years old when the changes start, plan ahead and avoid having to pay the daily toll which will be another unwanted cost for a business to find. Firms with vans covered by commercial vehicle insurance which are over a decade old need to think about replacing the fleet or at least some of them. Vauxhall are offering generous savings to anyone buying a new Vauxhall commercial vehicle before December 31st this year.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said “I want to make the air cleaner and greener in this great city with the minimum of financial impact for those who need to upgrade their vehicles. I’ve already given extra breathing space during the depths of the recession before these standards are introduced and I am pleased that a number of manufacturers are now offering new discounts to aid us in our efforts.”
Even though the London Low Emission Zone changes only relate to commercial vans ten years or older, Vauxhall are also offering deals to anyone who has a vehicle first registered as little as seven years ago. They are offering £3,000 off a brand new Corsavan via a trade-in, while a £7,500 discount is available off the new Movano with panel vans and chassis cabs also included in the offer.
Vauxhall say they are proud to once again support their customers with this value for money deal which is aimed at helping customers to get through the current tough economic environment.
Van drivers, looking to embrace the new technologies that provide more environmentally friendly vehicles, have a new option to consider when making a new purchase.
Vauxhall motors have released its first new van to have stop/start technology this week. The new Corsavan ecoFLEX should prove to be a big success for city drivers especially, as this is where the stop/start technology will operate most successfully.
The principle behind stop/start is really commonsense. When a driver gets stuck in traffic, within seconds of the vehicle being put in neutral and the clutch depressed the engine automatically cuts out, thus saving precious fuel as well as stopping emissions escaping into the atmosphere. The rest of the vans systems such as air conditioning, steering and braking are still available. Drivers will also have a button on the dashboard to disable stop/start when appropriate. Vauxhall estimate that fuel consumption in city traffic will be about 18% down compared to the vehicles predecessor.
The Corsavan ecoFLEX has other new features to attract customers. The model is Euro 5 compliant and has a particulate filter, which catches harmful chemicals before they are released into the atmosphere. Vauxhall say that these features, plus the stop/start option mean the vehicle has reduced emissions by over 10%. They say the van should achieve an average 70mpg and have also included a new high powered battery, an enhanced starter motor and an electric power management system.
The ecoFLEX start/stop is priced at just over £11,000, so van drivers should get a reasonable commercial vehicle insurance quote when they decide to buy.