The commercial fleet market is facing a number of ongoing pressures to reduce costs, manage fuel price volatility, increase driver safety, introduce green fleet initiatives, and increase productivity. ACA research examines what impact these factors are having on the commercial van market and the overall industry outlook.
Looking back to 2013, light commercial vehicle sales as a whole were up 3.5%. However, much of the demand was driven by the private buyer and year on year sales to businesses and government fell in 2013. The story so far in 2014 indicates that sales growth continues to decline. The most recent sales data for January and February shows that YTD light commercial vehicle sales are down 13.8%.
Year on year sales of commercial vans, which represent around 10% of the light commercial vehicles market, were down 7% in 2013 and are down 4% YTD in 2014. Although, some models performed well in 2013 including the Toyota Hiace, the VW Transporter and Renault Trafic, others fared less well. Sales of the Hyundai iLoad fell significantly in 2013 due to supply problems.
ACA Research has recently completed a detailed market study into the buying intentions and preferences of organisations that own at least one van. Purchase intentions are positive for 2014, with 60% of respondents intending to purchase at least one van. Replacement cycles are increasing with the average van now being replaced every 5.5 years rather than 4.8 years in 2011, reflecting greater levels of quality and reliability.
Focusing on the factors that influence purchase decisions, a range of criteria are used when considering models. Reliability, suitability, fuel economy, load volume, comfort and price are the most important considerations, but purchasers are trading off many other criteria when making purchase decisions.
We expect the conditions in the commercial vans market to remain tight during the remainder of 2014 and successful brands will be those that succeed in delivering to the needs of their customer and competing hard against the key criteria that influence purchase decisions.
Click below to download a free snapshot of the 2014 Commercial Vans Insight Report. Or if you would like to purchase the full report, for a detailed insight into the buying behaviour of commercial vans and a full appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of leading brands please email us.