Recent figures released by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show the popularity of vans among commercial vehicle drivers is at an all-time high.
The report shows that nearly 100,000 vans were registered in the first three months of 2015. A 22% year-on-year increase, the number is the highest since records began in 1987.
Along with the recovering economy and vast range of tempting finance deals from manufacturers, experts believe there is one other major factor contributing to the spectacular boom – online shopping.
The convenience of home delivery meant that the web generated around £103bn in vehicle sales last year. SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, commented on the rise in online sales, “The move towards online shopping and home deliveries is an important contributor to this growth – particularly that of large vans.”
As you would expect, the largest beneficiaries of this quarter’s boost in sales were Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen. Between them, the three manufacturers’ most popular vans accounted for over a quarter of total sales. SMMT predict there are now 4.4m vans and trucks on British roads.
On top of the record number of van sales the standard van has also had a sale boom in the past few months. The money Ford has spent on their marketing every year has finally paid off and they have sold more vans in April 2015 than they have in just less than 30 years.
Ford’s Transit Connect sales rose 52.7% since last year to 11, 345 units which gave Ford a 7,465-unit lead in Q1 on their competitor Nissan whose NV200 van had a 60.1% increase to 3,880.
The vans aren’t the most exciting with their boxy look and plain interior but van drivers love them and they are in high demand. Also, when small businesses become optimistic, they buy new vans to expand their company. We previously wrote a blog about how Fleet owners are investing in new high-quality vehicles and this is continuing to happen. John Schwegman, the director of commercial products at General Motors said: “We knew that as the industry bounced back, this segment would be on the forefront. Right now, we’re selling everything that we can build.”
One of the main reasons behind the sales increase in vans is due to the always improving efficiency and technology. Vans have gone from small boxes with almost no room to move to tall, spacious spaces with room to walk up and down standing upright.
The reason Ford do so well is down to the number of variations of van they have. Ford has three different transit van heights and lengths with 58 configurations. The brand manager for the Transit said: “The big trend that we’ve seen is customers being able to right-size their vehicle for the job that they need. We had a show where we had the Mustang GT500 and the conversion van, and the van actually drew as much attention.”
Even though the Ford Transits can be very boring because of the huge amount of space inside the van there is also a lot you can do to it. This is why Ford is recently marketing their new Transits as “a private jet on wheels”. The van includes a 52 inch retractable movie screen, a lighting system that is controlled by a smart phone and a built-in bar!
Vans are now not only ‘boxes on wheels’ they are more than that and this also contributes to the sales increase.