Top 10 best-selling vans in Ireland this year
Vans collect. Vans carry. Vans deliver. Everything. Food, drink, furniture, construction materials and tradesmen, electrical goods. Everything we use in our daily lives will at some stage have seen the inside of a goods vehicle, mostly vans.
In the Irish context, some 360,000 vans were registered in the last 10 years; 250,000 new. They're big business, for business.
There has been a 20pc increase in the number of vans sold this year... Here's a look at the top 10 brands.
The best-selling marque, with a healthy 22pc of the market. Ford have brought all their true vans under the 'Transit' prefix, capitalising on five decades of a nameplate that symbolises 'white van man' in these islands. The top selling model is the Transit (from €26,300) and Transit Custom (€23,250) in equal numbers, followed by the medium Transit Connect (€15,800) and the commercial version of its Kuga SUV.
The blue oval brand has offerings in the Small Van arena with the Transit Courier (€14,390) and the Fiesta (€14,870) car-derived van.
A 13.2pc market share for Volkswagen keeps it in a comfortable placing from other rivals. The Caddy (€17,665), now in its fourth generation, is responsible for close to half of its sales, a consistent champ for the brand. The sixth generation Transporter (€25,765) backstops it well and is responsible for a further quarter of sales. The commercial version of the Touareg SUV (€POA) and the CDV of the Golf (€20,970) are strong performers.
The large van Crafter (€29,460) has been on runout. The upcoming new one already has achieved a European Van of the Year 2017 accolade, and should do well here in the coming year.
Stomping ahead in the Irish market, Renault's 11.1pc place on the commercials ladder should be pleasing them well. Trafic (€22,295) in the medium van space is responsible for more than four in ten of the brand's van sales here, a proportion that will likely rise in 2017.
The Master (€21,700) large van is doing Renault proud in its segment and there's nothing below challenging it seriously. The Kangoo (€15,790) small van is battling well against a lot of serious competition from its homeland. There's an electric version.
A 6pc share of the van market here puts Toyota in a surprisingly strong position given its dearth of actual van models. The perennial popularity of the Land Cruiser (€40,395) commercial is responsible for its LCV market placing, with six out of every ten of its sales here.
The Auris Van (€17,980) adds another 20pc of all units under the Toyota umbrella, and the healthy performance of the much-admired Hilux pickup isn't close behind. Sales of the Proace (€20,495) medium van must be disappointing. A substantially revised version recently arrived might improve things over the next year.
With 5.2pc of the commercials market, Peugeot is a tad ahead of its sibling Citroen brand, and benefits from a strong reputation and frugal fuel economy. The key model is the Partner (€15,755) small van, second best selling in its segment and highly visible transport for many small businesses and tradespeople.
The new generation Expert (€21,520) now offers a Compact length to the Standard and LWB versions. Comfortable and highly specified and likely to appeal to owner-operators. Peugeot's large van offering, the Boxer (€23,333), finds it hard to drive out from under the shadow of Ford's Transit, but it's a solid and dependable vehicle for capacity and long haul. Peugeot also provides vans derived from its 208, 308 and 3008 passenger car models.
Running a tight sixth place from Peugeot above and a snapping Opel below, Citroen also depends strongly on the small van segment with its Berlingo (€15,900), the best-selling in its segment across Europe. Economy and ability to stand up to hard use are the reasons.
The large Relay (€23,200) comes in three lengths and three heights, offering lots of diversity for varied applications. Also available in chassis-cab and crew-cab. The mid-sized Citroen Dispatch (€21,500), brand new and sharing its latest underpinnings with the Peugeot Expert. A comfortable long-distance drive and nippy in traffic. High spec and oodles of capacity in two length options.
The vans from the three-pointed star cater for the market segment that values a premium product. Lack of a small van limits overall market penetration. The Sprinter (€30,540) large van follows a long-standing theme of quality, comfort and rugged ability. Technology options includes a side-wind control which works really well in sudden winds gusts. High Roof versions are particularly popular.
The Vito (€24,531) medium van is the 2016 Continental Irish Van of the Year, with improved space for the driver and a wide range of safety and comfort technology. The addition of a FWD version extended usage options.
The GM brand spreads its sales evenly across the three main segments, which is why it gets into the top ten sellers. The medium Vivaro (€21,995) is front runner and represents a little over half of all Opel's van sales here. A fresh vehicle with a good reputation for comfort and reliability, it has two length options and two heights, and a double cab variant. The Combo (€16,145) small van is gutsy and dependable and looks good too. Quite a range of lengths and heights for the segment, and there's a crew-van option.
Opel does well with its Movano (€25,050) large van. A good long-haul high-capacity vehicle, it's available in RWD as well as FWD, and three different lengths. Opel also has its Corsavan car-derived van. It's the smallest player in a small segment dominated by compact CDVs.
Nissan's temporary lack of a medium van is resolved with the recent arrival of the NV300. The NV400 (€26,150) large van is its best seller. Three lengths, two heights, and a RWD version means choice for all kinds of users. The NV200 Vanette (€17,400) is popular with businesses who need to deliver lots of small packages in urban spaces. For those whose daily routes are within the range there's an electric version. Nissan's two SUVs, Qashqai and X-Trail are also available in commercial variants.
10. LAND ROVER
The Discovery (€59,960) is one of the most distinctive and capable large SUVs in the business. Soon to be superseded by a totally new vehicle, commercials may take a back seat for some time in the future.
The Defender is no longer in production.
The top selling models are Ford's Transit , Volkswagen Caddy, Renault Trafic, Ford Transit Connect, Peugeot Partner , Renault Master, Toyota Land Cruiser, Citroen Berlingo, Land Rover Discovery, Fords Kuga.
Brian Byrne is Editor and co-Publisher of Irish Van & Truck Magazine.