Wright said van makers that failed to respond to operators’ growing desire to enable their drivers to communicate with customers directly from their vehicles could suffer from reduced sales and residual values.
Wright argued that operators no longer needed just satellite navigation and in-cab phone access but required built-in docking stations for a range of communication equipment adhering to OEM safety guidelines.
He said iPhones were now used as satnav systems and GPS-positioning devices as well as enabling drivers to keep in touch with the office by safely making calls and using email. He predicted that when 4G (fourth generation) mobile phone technology becomes widespread smartphones will become integral to drivers’ working lives.
“Offering a more flexible, factory-built solution to accommodate these communication devices will translate into additional sales. Vans with these options make more money when it comes to selling them used in three or four years’ time,” Wright said.
In contrast, he said aftermarket-fitted communications kit gave no uplift to RVs and could, in fact, prove to be detrimental if it had to be removed before the sale of the vehicle.