Some soothsayers are predicting the near extinction of the large van as the first choice of many companies providing courier work services. |
This is based upon the latest market survey which shows mid-range van sales sailing away on the crest of the wave, with sales in the bigger segments looking much less exciting. Some are arguing that big vans are being pushed to extinction by the successes of their younger mid-sized cousins.
Where is the evidence for this projection?
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ survey of 2015 van sales has produced a few surprises.
Of course, it’s worth noting a gentle warning at this point. It’s VERY difficult to draw too many conclusions from summary survey results published in magazine format. That’s because they often focus on gross sales figures, which are certainly important but that don’t necessarily give away any clues as to what’s pushing those sales variations.
So the fact that van ‘a’ is outselling van ‘b’ doesn’t tell you why. It could be many things including (most notably) price, availability and special deals. People engaged in courier work might be flocking to mid-range vans not because of some industry-wide move towards them as a reflection of their ‘fitness for purpose’, but simply because the manufacturers are offering some far better financial deals on them at the time.
Noting that caveat, the sales stats do look extraordinary.
The Rising Tide
Overall, the growth in the mid-sized ranges was a staggering 21% and overall, they’re now 60% of all new van sales. That in itself might indicate the nature of the evolutionary forces at work.
Take the Vauxhall Vivaro. Its sales have soared and it has now registered the manufacturer as one of the top providers of vans again – rivalling Ford. The Renault Traffic’s sales increased in 2015 by 40%. Even Ford’s own ‘baby’ Transit, the Custom, is now making the full-sized version look like a back-marker in terms of the sales race.
What’s pushing this increase in demand for this type of van?
Priorities are Changing
It’s probably fair to speculate that, even putting price differences and financing deals to one side, something fundamental is happening. The forces involved appear to be:
• Running costs • Green considerations • Flexibility.
In terms of operating costs, although it’s a bit of a crude generalisation, they’re likely to be lower than those of the big vans. If you’re a courier worker today, that difference can be hugely important.
The Green dimension can’t be ignored either. Many couriers are just as environmentally aware as anyone else and lower emissions might be a pretty powerful persuader. Many of the mid-range vans are relatively new entrants to the market and, as such, they’re often using the latest and cleanest technologies. That delivers a Green benefit that is increasingly attractive to buyers.
Finally, it has to be acknowledged that some of the newer mid-range vans are very ingenious in their use of the space they offer and are exceptionally customisable to meet the day-to-day requirements of owners. Some of their space configuration options are little short of genius, and buyers like that flexibility. OK, perhaps radically re-configuring your van isn’t an everyday requirement, but when it is, you’ll want to do it without making a trip to the coachbuilders to do so.
The End of the Line
Before we lament the end of the big van though, a word of caution.
Businesses, including those offering courier work services, will continue to need larger capacities for various requirements. That demands a larger van and many medium-sized vans have a limited cubic capacity by virtue of their smaller size! So, whilst further growth in the medium-sized sector can be anticipated, the large van isn’t yet dead on its feet.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
Related Articles -