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Ford Transit 2015 Golden Convoy

Online shopping drives growing van sales reveals Ford

Ford Transit 2015 Golden ConvoyVan-dependent businesses contributed £120 billion to the UK economy in 2014 – a rise of 16% on 2010 and a similar amount to the entire Swiss economy.

It’s the growth in online shopping that’s a key driver in the expansion of businesses dependent on vans, says Ford.

The firm commissioned a study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research for the Transit’s 50th year, to find out the economic impact of the van sector it helped create in 1965.

This reports that van-dependent businesses inject more than the UK national deficit into the economy annually, leading Ford of Europe COO Barb Samardzich to comment that people don’t realise just how important vans are for the overall economy.

More so than ever, she believes. “As our economy changes and evolves – with shifts to online shopping for example – demand for Transit is only rising.”

Indeed, the on-going growth in online shopping means Ford van sales are up 27% on a year ago: every 1 in 4 CVs sold in Britain wears a Ford Transit badge (and, with 2.5 million registered in the UK, it’s been the best-selling van every year since its introduction).

In the CEBR also found economic benefits from van usage extends to the tax contribution to public finances.

British van drivers drove 64 billion miles last year, for example, a rise of 20% on 2008.

Fuel duty contribution to the UK economy? A cool £5 billion…

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Dacia and Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley appears at CV Show with Dacia’s first Duster VAN

Dacia and Rachel RileyDacia has launched its first factory-built Duster van at the CV Show 2015 in Birmingham – with the help of Countdown’s Rachel Riley.

Prices for the Duster Commercial range start from £9,595 plus VAT, and Dacia boasts it offers up to 1,150 litres of load space with a 550kg payload.

There’s even a 4×4 version alongside the standard front-wheel drive model; both will use Renault’s trusty 110hp 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel engine which combines up to 56.5mpg fuel economy in front-wheel drive guise, with 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds.

Even the 4×4 version averages over 54mpg though, and Dacia reckons this one’s set to draw landscape gardeners, farmers, ground maintenance staff plus forestry, power and communications companies.

Riley’s presence on Dacia’s NEC van show stand will undoubtedly help rouse interest in the new Dacia van too – she’s on hand to interactively demonstrate the new Duster Commercial’s competitive value in crowd-drawing fashion. Clever Dacia.

Dacia Duster Commercial

Andy Heiron, Dacia brand manager, said: “With the Dacia brand now established as part of the UK motoring landscape following two very successful years of growth, we now feel the time is right to launch a Duster product in the commercial vehicle sector.

“Having previously considered local adaptations, the shift of production location to Europe gave us the opportunity to have an N1-homologated product direct from the factory.”

It won’t even be sold in paired-back base trim: model choices are either Ambiance or Laureate, with all offering electric windows, Bluetooth, USB socket, stability control and fancy chrome interior highlights. The cargo deck is fully lined with tough plastic, and is nearly 1.4 metres long and more than a metre wide.

Dacia Duster Commercial

Tradesmen will ideally want to get the Laureate though: this adds air con, cruise control with speed limiter, electric door mirrors and fancy piano black interior detailing that a builder will turn matt in no time at all.

The Duster Commercial will arrive in dealers later this year, to provide an interesting new competitor in the car-derived vans market that already account for 30 per cent of Britain’s booming light commercial vehicle sector.

Dacia Duster Commercial van – prices

ModelPrice*
Commercial Ambiance dCi 110 4×2£9,595 + VAT
Commercial Ambiance dCi 110 4×4£11,295 + VAT
Commercial Lauréate dCi 110 4×2£10,845 + VAT
Commercial Lauréate dCi 110 4×4£12,545 + VAT

*excludes VED (£0 for 4×2, £130 for 4×4), First Registration Fee (£55) and delivery (£595)

Van safety needs to be addressed, warns SMMT

HALF of vans on British roads officially deemed ‘unsafe’

Van safety needs to be addressed, warns SMMTThe SMMT has revealed shock figures that expose worryingly poor levels of safety among Britain’s van users.

One in two vans will fail the annual MOT test due to a safety defect and, more worryingly, two in three vans stopped by the roadside by the DVSA each hear have a serious mechanical defect.

A staggering 9 in 10 vans were found to be overloaded.

The spiralling MOT safety defect record contrasts starkly with HGVs, says the SMMT – operators there have to follow strict licensing rules, which means just over one in five HGVs will fail the MOT first time round.

As vans weigh less than 3.5 tonnes, they’re exempt from this expensive Operator Licensing regime.

The SMMT is thus issuing a rallying call to van operators at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham this week: sort out your safety record or face billions in extra costs.

Safety record ‘a matter of concern’

“Britain’s 3.2 million vans are essential for the smooth running of the economy but their recent safety record is a matter of concern,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“Vans rack up huge distances and endure significant wear and tear on a daily basis so regular servicing is essential.” Van demand is also growing; over 34,000 were registered in March 2015 alone, a rise of nearly 24 per cent, as businesses move to vans for the greater efficiencies they offer.

But if operators don’t sort out their safety record, the DVSA and other stakeholders may take action and enforce expensive statutory licensing regulation – something the industry can avoid with effective self regulation.

“We’re launching a new campaign to promote maintenance so businesses can take the necessary steps to ensure their vehicles are safe, protecting their drivers and other road users without the need for further fines and regulations.”

The SMMT adds that “although there has been no move so far to make Operator Licensing rules apply to vans, the regulations and safety records around light goods vehicles are facing increased scrutiny”.

Over to you, van operators…

Ford Transit Custom

British new van sales hit record high

Ford Transit CustomBooming business confidence has helped record the best-ever three months for new van sales in the UK, the SMMT has revealed.

Over 108,000 new commercial vehicles were registered in the UK between January-March 2015, including more than 12,000 Ford Transit Custom (pictured above) and over 7,500 UK-built Vauxhall Vivaro.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes called it “a very encouraging picture”.

The SMMT says demand is expected to remain strong in the months ahead, as van sales recover after suffering badly in the recession: 388,488 new commercial vehicles were registered in 2007, but this dropped to just 221,132 in 2009 – a 32 per cent decline.

The past 12 months have seen van sales hit 384,120 and the SMMT expects the current growth trend to continue.

Home deliveries driving ‘all-time high’

It’s big growth in home deliveries from online shopping that’s helping drive new commercial vehicle sales, reckons the SMMT. 97,775 vans have been registered in the past quarter, it sales – a 22 per cent increase on 2014. Indeed, annual van sales are now nearing an all-time high.

Britain is Europe’s third-biggest market for vans and trucks – but in the past two months, growth exceeded the two bigger markets of Germany and France.

“As business confidence grows,” said Hawes, “demand for the latest vans and trucks is now back to pre-recession levels – outpacing the rest of Europe.”

Britain’s favourite van is, as always, a Ford: the good-looking Transit Custom easily beat all-comers to sit at the top of the charts. With over 5,000 Ford Transit and 4,000 Ford Transit connect sales, the blue oval’s van domination is complete.

Britain’s best-selling vans, Q1 2015

1 Ford Transit Custom: 12,627

2 Vauxhall Vivaro: 7,449

3 Volkswagen Transporter: 5,765

4 Peugeot Partner: 5,611

5 Ford Transit 5,276

6 Citroen Berlingo: 5,207

7 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: 5,012

8 Ford Transit Connect: 4,096

9 Renault Trafic: 3,368

10 Peugeot Boxer: 2,844

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