Volkswagen T6
Power Office: The Transporter T6 in hot-desk office mode
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Vans’ vital role in economy

  • Research highlights role vans play in changing face of UK business
  • Van-dependent businesses contribute £120 billion to UK economy
  • 17.5% increase in self-employment and van-dependent businesses since 2009
  • VW Commercial Vehicles creates unique Transporter vans for use by start-up businesses as hot-desking spaces

VAN-dependent business worth £120bn in just one year and their key role in start-ups has been highlighted in a report on the importance of light commercial vehicles to the UK economy delivered by a new study commissioned by Volkswagen.

Their key role in the growth of new and small businesses in the UK is highlighted by research commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles with the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR).

The research, which analyses data from 2009 to 2015, investigates the relationship between the growth of the commercial vehicle industry and use of vehicles by businesses, with van dependent enterprises contributing £120 billion to the UK economy and travelling almost 102 billion km in 2014 alone.

Since 2009, the number of registered commercial vehicles in the UK has increased by 400 per cent as business and consumer confidence recovers and a greater demand for services and goods builds. This is mirrored by a 17.5 per cent increase in self-employment as entrepreneurs and small businesses break away across a range of sectors.

As channels of consumption change and self-employment increases, the research also shows how parts of the UK economy have shifted from established ‘bricks and mortar’ organisations to online and start-ups with over a million new businesses registering since 2009.

Volkswagen T6 office
Power Office: T6 in hot-desk office mode

By 2017, there are expected to be 11.7 million start-up businesses creating 3.4 million pop-up experiences with almost a third (29%) of new businesses launched in the UK during this time starting as a pop-up.

To celebrate the developing relationship between new and small businesses and their use of commercial vehicles, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles partnered with start-up specialists Startup Direct to offer its network of businesses hot-desking space in two uniquely designed sixth-generation Transporter vans.

One is designed as a ‘Creative Hub’ complete with grass carpet and woodland to give the perfect ambience for brain-storming and idea generation. A whiteboard, beanbags and funky accessories complete the experience. The second, installed in a high-roof Transporter, is the ‘Power Office’: views of the City, leather chairs and a wooden desk allow any aspiring CEO to live the executive life – in the back of a van.

Creative base
Creative hub with ‘grass’ carpet

Commenting on the research and event, Carl zu Dohna, director of VW Commercial Vehicles, said: “Commercial vehicles play a huge role in start-up and small businesses and we’re proud to supply the future drivers of British business with vehicles that help to deliver their goods and services.

“We admire the entrepreneurial minds of those in the UK who have continued to take risks and challenged traditional business industries in establishing exciting and forward-thinking new start-ups that use our vehicles. We know office space can often be at a premium; by working with Startup Direct we intend to offer individuals and businesses unique working spaces to inspire them.”

Anna Elyasova, regional manager at Startup Direct, founding delivery partner of the Government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme, added: “Working with new and small businesses across the UK we are fully aware of the vital role commercial vehicles play in their ability to be able to effectively function and grow.

“We’re delighted to be teaming-up with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to offer businesses a creative and new way of supporting and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

VW T6 green desk
Green scene: The Creative Hub


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