The Transit Van @ 50!

December 14, 2015

A report commissioned on the 50th anniversary of the iconic Ford Transit shows how commercial vans remain a critical backbone of commerce throughout Europe. There is no great surprise as to which sectors rely on vans, with the following being the most reliant:

• Building
• Maintenance/ Repair
• Utilities and Transport

50 years after Ford introduced the iconic Transit, commercial vans have continued to make a significant contribution to the European economy, with the sectors above generating €584 billion in France, Germany and the UK alone in 2014. This is an increase of 16% compared to 2010 and is an amount approaching the overall economy of Switzerland (according to the study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research commissioned by Ford).

Significant growth in shopping online has seen businesses that are traditionally reliant on Transit Vans, increase, as well as other trades such as painting, plumbing and plastering.

Ford is Europe’s No. 2 commercial vehicle brand, with a range of four Transit vehicles. These vehicles can cater for virtually any industry, and have no doubt contributed to the 33% rise in sales Ford has seen so far this year.

“Most people see the Transits and other work vans on the road every day and don’t realize how vital they are for business at large, as well as the overall economy,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. “Even as our economy changes and evolves – with shifts to online shopping for example – the demand for Transit vans is only rising.”

Germany is Europe’s largest economy and has seen growth in online shopping by 25% year on year in 2014 and is forecast to grow a further 23% in 2015. Poland and Spain also saw increases in 2014 with 23% and 20% increases in online spend to the previous year respectively.

This rapid growth has contributed to the continuing increase in the number of working vans and has strengthened the market for new vans in Europe’s key markets. The most vans are operated in France with 5.2million vehichles registered in 2014, followed by 4.6 million in Spain, 3.8 million in Italy, 3.5 million in the U.K., 2.7 million in Poland and 2.3 million in Germany. Poland shows the greatest increase amongst the top six nations, up 85 per cent since 2000. Sales of medium vans like Transit are strongest in Germany, with 281,000 vehicles registered in 2014, followed by 231,000 in the U.K., and 187,000 in France.

A great deal of credit can be given to the new four model Transit line-up helping to make Ford the No.2 selling commercial vehicle brand in Europe in the first six months of 2015. This is up from No.7 in 2012. This is also with an increase of 33% in sales over the previous year.

Another contributing factor is the birth of many new small businesses, particularly in the UK. Following the financial crisis the UK has seen 24,000 new businesses established in 2013 compared to 2010. These new businesses include construction trades such as painting, plastering and plumbing.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research which produces reports for the UK government reveals that major economic benefits from van usage extends beyond the direct business impact. For instance tax contributions to public finances. In the UK van drivers covered 102 billion kilometres during 2014, an increase of 20% compared to 2008, this generated more the €7 billion in fuel duty.

An interesting fact, Ford Transit has built 8 million vans. Lined up end-to-end, those Transits would circle the globe.

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