The medium van sector continues to drive the LCV market forward as it bounces back from the coronavirus crisis.
Supply shortages of semiconductors may have slowed the recovery in the light commercial vehicle market in June but demand for the medium vans that have driven growth remains strong.
According to the SMMT, the market-leading 2.5–3.5t van segment, which includes medium and large vans, was up by 21.2% year-on-year in June, taking 71% of the overall market with 24,434 registrations.
The Ford Transit Custom was again the UK’s best-selling van in June, with 4,015 registrations, and it also tops the list of the best-selling LCVs for the first half of 2021, with 26,978 registered.
The second best-selling medium van, the Volkswagen Transporter, was third overall on both counts, with 2,677 and 12,586 registrations, respectively.
The Vauxhall Vicaro was the fourth best seller in June (2,557) and the fifth best seller in the year to date (10,116).
The Renault Trafic enjoyed a good June, coming in as the nation’s seventh most popular LCV with 1,675 registrations, but it did not feature in the top 10 for the first half year.
Total sales of vans in the 2.5–3.3t segment rose sharply by 88% to 128,495 in the year to 30 June.
On the product front, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed its new Multivan, which will replace the Caravelle when it comes to market towards the end of 2021.
Unlike its predecessor, which was built on the Transporter platform, the brand will assemble the Multivan on its MQB platform, which produces passenger cars like the Golf, and also spawns the Caddy and Caddy Cargo compact van.
The manufacturer will offer the front-wheel drive only Multivan with three powertrains, including, for the first time in a VW van, a plug-in hybrid engine. The Multivan eHybrid pairs a 1.4 TSI petrol 150hp engine with an 85kW electric motor to produce power output of 160kW (218hp). VW claims it has a pure electric range of up to 50km (31 miles). The eHybrid is married to a six-speed DSG gearbox and the electric charging point is located on the right-hand side of the front wing.
The Multivan is also available with two four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines: a 1.5 TSI 136hp and a 2.0 TSI 204hp unit. A 2.0 150hp four-cylinder turbo diesel will join next year, according to VWCV. These engines are all twinned with the brand’s seven-speed DSG gearbox.
Hot on the heels of the introduction of its plug-in Vivaro-e, Vauxhall has unveiled a new variant of its medium van powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The company says the van, badged as the Vivaro-e Hydrogen, will be able to cover up to 249 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, which can be refilled in three minutes.
The model is based on the battery-electric Vivaro-e, and along with the 45kW fuel cell will also feature a 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery, capable of being charged with a plug for a range of 31 miles, and also providing extra power when required, such as on start-up and under acceleration.
Electric vans are increasingly penetrating large fleets: Enterprise has added 100 electric vans to its Flex-E-Rent division, including a number of Mercedes-Benz eVitos.
Enterprise says the vans will help businesses to try out EVs ahead of the UK ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales in 2030, and to meet the requirements of city clean air zones.
Energy services provider Sureserve Group has also added 30 electric Citroen e-Dispatch vans to its fleet.The vans are in mid-range Enterprise trim and fitted with 75kWh battery packs – the larger of the two options available with the e-Dispatch, allowing a range of up to 205 miles on the official WLTP cycle.
Meanwhile, MS-RT, a member of Ford’s Qualified Vehicle Modifier scheme, is to open a new £4m facility at Ford’s Dagenham site. The new facility, which will complement MS-RT’s factory in Wales, is planned to allow MS-RT to expand its business while enabling easier access to Ford technical expertise. MS-RT produces rally-inspired versions of the Transit Custom medium van as well as adaptions of the Connect light van and Ranger pick-up truck.
More than 120 jobs are expected to be created when the new facility is fully operational next year.
Volkswagen Multivan October 2021
MS-RT Ford factory January 2022
Vauxhall Vivaro-e Hydrogen January 2023