Increasing choice of commercial vehicles is truly ‘vantastic’

Things might have been tough globally for the last five years, but that didn’t stop the key motor manufacturers from continuing with their vehicles development. It’s not easy to stop work on a new or major revision programme for cars and vans, which can be in train over several years.

Things might have been tough globally for the last five years, but that didn’t stop the key motor manufacturers from continuing with their vehicles development. It’s not easy to stop work on a new or major revision programme for cars and vans, which can be in train over several years.

So there have been a number of new and strongly updated models coming on stream in the last two years. For 2015 there is lots of choice in virtually every segment.

The most renewed fleet is Ford, whose latest Transit was awarded the Continental Irish Van of the Year 2015 award last November by the Irish Motoring Writers Association.

The new generation Transit completed a full fleet overhaul over the past three years. First came the Transit Custom, filling the smaller end of the large vans from the blue oval brand. Last year a completely new Transit Connect small/medium range was followed in by the Transit Courier, a small city van which gave Ford a space where it wasn’t previously.

The Citroen and Peugeot twins, Berlingo and Partner, have just been renewed in that same very important van segment, and those revised models will be on sale here imminently.

The medium vans arena is a highly competitive one, and has been revitalised recently by the new Renault Trafic, and its cousin the Opel Vivaro. A new 1.6 engine in both is especially useful. That space is also due for a new generation Vito from Mercedes-Benz, which is again up-specing in operator comfort and fuel efficiency.

In the large van segment, the largest at a 29% element of all van sales, the joint venture Citroen/Peugeot/Fiat Relay/Boxer/Ducato got a complete revision last year, with new styling, comfort upgrades and more efficient engines.

The latest IVECO Daily also arrived in Ireland in 2014 and is picking up buyers from a significant owner base of the original. And LDV, an original British brand now owned by China vehicle maker SAIC, is now on sale in Ireland from April with its V80.

There’s been a noticeable pick up in commercial SUVs, at all levels. From Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Land Rover’s Discovery currently neck and neck at the top down through to the burgeoning compact SUV commercials that include the latest Nissan Qashqai Van, there are no less than eight brands fighting for a slice of this cake, worth almost a fifth in terms of segment share. Pickups too, an area which was seriously impacted by the collapse of the construction industry, are beginning to regain ground again. Of the eight makers punching for a result here, Toyota, Ford and Isuzu are doing the bulk of the business. But a new generation L200 from Mitsubishi, coming down the line soon, will give a fillip to that well respected model.

The car-derived vans segment is pretty small, a tad under 5.5% of the total, but that doesn’t mean there’s no competition for it, if for no other reason than the vehicles are a showcase for a particular brand.

That’s why Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota and Opel scrap hard to get traction in it. Ford has two contenders, Focus and Fiesta, which brings them as a brand very close to VW.

For the record, the overall league table of brands to date comprises in order, Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota, Land Rover, Peugeot, Nissan, Citroen, Opel and Mercedes-Benz. The top five in numbers terms hold some 70% of total LCV market.


Top vans in 2015

Of the almost 8,000 light commercial vehicles sold in the first two months of this year, the outright biggest seller was Ford’s Transit/Transit Custom range with 1,199 units rolled out of showrooms, according to an analysis of published industry figures.

Next up was Volkswagen’s Caddy (617) followed closely by Toyota’s Land Cruiser (460), with Citroen’s Berlingo (413) and Ford’s Transit Connect (412) rounding out the top five models.

Increasing choice of commercial vehicles is truly ‘vantastic’

Looking at the top sellers in different categories, the Transit was easily biggest in the large vans (we don’t have a breakdown for the Custom), with Renault’s Master (355) in a second place quite a ways from the traditional leader.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was third (230) with VW’s Crafter (203) and Nissan’s NV400 (97) completing the top five.

Ford’s Transit Connect topped the Medium Van segment with 412 units sold, followed by Volkswagen’s Transporter (398), Renault’s Trafic (outgoing and new totalling 312), Opel’s Vivaro (123) and Combo (111).

Increasing choice of commercial vehicles is truly ‘vantastic’

The Small Vans segment was led by VW’s trusty Caddy with 617 units, followed in by Citroen’s Berlingo (413), Peugeot’s Partner (317), Renault’s Kangoo (164) and Nissan’s Vanette (110).

Toyota’s Land Cruiser topped the SUV Commercial sales, from Land Rover’s Discovery (403), Ford’s Kuga Commercial (124), Hyundai’s ix35 Commercial (119) and Mitsubishi’s Pajero (86).

In Car Derived Vans, VW’s Golf was an easy segment topper with 127 units, from Hyundai’s i30 (78), Toyota’s Auris (72), Ford’s Focus (63) and Fiesta (52) vans.

The top-selling pickup was Toyota’s Hilux with 129 units, from Ford’s Ranger (82), Isuzu’s D-MAX (70), the Nissan Navara (34) and Mitsubishi’s L200 (25).

By brand, Ford is substantially the biggest seller, holding more than a fifth of all LCV sales so far in 2015, with VW next on 14.9%, followed in by Renault (9.3%), Toyota (7.8%) and Citroen (5.0%).

The overall LCV market to-date is up by 48% over the first two months of last year.



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