VAN sales ended up 2012 with a thump. On their backside.
But 2013 looks like another matter as trades and SME van fleets look to renew and replace their business vans.
And one of the places they are looking is to leasing.
The latest stats from the BVRLA posted a 10% rise in car and van fleets under lease finance, cars at 2.2m and, more importantly for us, 430,000 vans.
“Even as the economy continues to limp along, these figures are a sign that the vehicle rental and leasing industry is as strong as ever, a vital cog in the UK’s transport network,” said BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis.
Mr Lewis also expected steady growth in the business van sector too this year, as well as in larger heavy commercial vehicles where operators have an eye on the introduction of new EURO VI emissions standards.
The BVRLA confidence looks well placed. A Co-operative Bank survey by YouGov reported that almost half (45%) of SMEs in the transport and logistics areas expected to see investment in new business vehicles and premises (see news story Business looking up for SMEs in transport and distribution for 2013).
Three significant new launches will contribute to the recovery. Business Vans reported the delivery of the first all new Ford Transit Custom last week, and there have been two big announcements from Mercedes and MINI at the beginning of the new year.
Mercedes has just announced its first venture into the small van market with the Citan, and MINI will showcase the Clubvan – based on the chunky 4-door MINI Clubman – at the CV Show in April. Both these new vans bring a welcome dash of prestige and sparkle to the sector that will appeal to existing and new van users alike.
Steve Bridge, Van Sales and Marketing Director at Mercedes, concurred: “The new Citan is certainly creating a stir within the van industry. Right from the day we released the first sketches the level of interest was and has been relentless,” he said.
Editor’s note: The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the national trade body for companies engaged in the leasing and rental of cars and commercial vehicles.