Ford transit retained its leading position as the most popular van make among plumbers and tradesmen in the UK. Ford has shifted 6,348 vehicles in 2007, which amounts to 29% of the UK market. General Motors (Vauxhaul Commercial Vehicles) has shifted 3,776 commercial vehicles during 2007, accounting for 16% of the market. In third place, Volkswagen shifted 2,162 light commercial vehicles (10% of the UK market).
With over 2.2 millions vans running on UK’s congested roads, the market for the ultimate van for the plumber, the electrician and the tradesman is extremely competitive. No less than 23 manufacturers are competing in the market, with virtually hundreds of models and variations between them.
Within this market, Ford has managed to edge forward and increase its market share in 2008 from 23.2% to 25.3%. Vauxhall has retained its market share virtually unchanged at 16.4%, while Volkswagen pushed forward from 7% to 10% share of the UK market of vans for plumbers and tradesmen.
A recent report by the Social Issues Research Centre, which carried out a survey of van owners and drivers, shows that there were some interesting developments in the purchasing patterns of plumbers and van owners over the last few years.
According to Peter Marsh of the research centre, there are major changes that the ‘white van man’ has gone through recently, not least the fact that many now choose to purchase their van in silver rather than white. According to dealers, the tradesmen choose silver rather than white as they go for a higher level of sophistication. The tradesmen, not only choose a colour that is more in line with the passenger car market, but they also drive more carefully despite the traditional reputation of reckless driving.
The average age of vans on Britain’s roads is still around seven years, but the increase in home deliveries has led to a recent surge in sales of light commercial vehicles, which were up 28 last year.
According to DVLA figures, sales of silver vans have risen by 300 per cent in the past five years. While white is still the most popular colour among new van buyers — 92,000 of the 145,000 registered in the first six months of last year — 11,351 have turned to silver.
New owners of vans are ready to invest in their vehicle and pick up more items from the extras list, including air-conditioning, CD stereo, hands-free mobile phone kits and safety features such as ABS brakes and airbags.