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Van Manufacturers Record Breaking Start to 2014

Record Breakers

Growth in the home delivery market and a trend in downsizing are reportedly driving significant growth in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market, that's according to new research by the Department for Transport.

Recent analysis of the commercial vehicle market now shows that every 10th vehicle on the road is an LCV, and that the distance travelled by vans has grown rapidly over the past 15 years. Department for Transport (DfT) forecasts also show that LCV traffic is predicted to almost double between 2010 and 2040 – all of which helps to paint a rosy picture for the future of the van manufacturing industry.

Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Van travel and ownership has grown significantly in recent years and the Government estimates future growth will also be high.

“In 2013, three-quarters of British adults shopped online and we have the highest rate of internet shopping in the EU,” he added.

“There is also reason to believe hauliers are switching away from larger vehicles because of changing delivery patterns and growing environmental restrictions on HGVs.”
Indeed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published record-breaking van registration figures for this year.

Van registrations were up by 14.6% in March at 50,064 units, while 79,917 vans have been registered in the first three months of 2014 – a 16% increase on the previous year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, added: “The new 14-plate drove van numbers up, pushing the overall commercial vehicle market 11.4% ahead of 2013 to more than 54,000 units.

“Registration plate changes always prove popular with van buyers, so March and September numbers are typically more than double the average month.”
It resulted in a record-breaking first quarter for Mercedes-Benz Vans, with registrations of 6,619, an increase of 12.5% on the same period last year.

The RAC Foundation’s own report into van traffic shows that between 2002 and 2012, the number of vans increased by 29% to 3.3 million, while the number of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on British roads fell 5% to 460,000.

The study suggests that there are several reasons for this shift from HGVs to LCVs, including a shortage of HGV drivers, changes in driving licence legislation and the growth of home delivery through the increase in the popularity of home shopping.

Glaister said: “In 2013, 72% of British adults shopped online, up from 53% in 2008.”

In terms of safety, the study shows there were 12,575 reported incidents involving LCVs in 2012 – 5% of all reported road traffic incidents.
Many of these road traffic incidents occur in major urban areas, but they have reduced both in number (down 29%) and the rate per billion miles driven (down 42%), despite the number of LCVs registered increasing over the same period (up 29%).

(image courtest of chrisroll/


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