Doing the business: How vans are driving our busy economy
Focus on Commercials
If you can't get your goods to the shops, then you don't have a market, and soon no business. That's why transport and logistics are such a key part of any country's economy.
Think of our roads as arteries and the commercial vehicles using them as the blood. It's why we need trucks and vans grumbling around our roads.
The more of them we see, the better it suggests the country is doing.
Last year, some 24,219 light commercial vehicles were rolled from dealerships to all sorts of businesses, though Brexit worries pulled sales down.
So far this year, sales are up by 5.4pc on the same period last year.
Moving stuff around means jobs, with around 50,000 people employed by some 3,700 licensed hauliers. It provides profit margins for wholesalers and retailers and manufacturers of goods and providers of transport services.
The activity brings in big revenues to State coffers too, in taxation of the goods themselves, in the fuel and on the sale of the vehicles doing the moving.
So the next time you're in traffic with your weekly shopping in the boot, don't gripe about the number of vans and trucks you have to share the road with.
Without them, you not only wouldn't have that shopping, but the whole economy would grind rather quickly to a halt.
Just remember how quickly bread went short during the recent snow.
After the first four months of the year, just five brands were responsible for 75pc of light commercial vehicle registrations. The balance was shared between 17 brands, many of them in small numbers.
Ford was again at the top of the ladder, its 3,523 units rolling off dealer forecourts representing 24.6pc of the market, with a strong follow-up from Volkswagen with 2,875 units and 20.1pc.
A punchy performance from regular third-placer Renault saw the French brand register 1,873 units, giving it a 13.1pc market share.
Filling out the top five were Toyota (1,416/9.9pc) and Peugeot (950/6.6pc).
The biggest selling van model in the period was the Ford Transit Custom, with 946 units registered, followed by the same brand's Transit Connect (938), Volkswagen's Caddy (903), Renault's medium Trafic (799), and VW's Transporter (790).
It's really competitive out there, with deals to be done on specification and price, as the big players try to hold their space and the smaller ones try to stay in the game.
If you're buying in the market, there's probably not been as good a time for a while.
The standard rules are, know what you want, shop around, haggle, and walk to the next maker if you're not getting respect.
THE A-Z OF TOP SELLERS
CITROEN: The Berlingo small van is popular with the small craftsperson owner-operators. Available in 560kg-850kg payload variants, 75hp/100hp diesels, from €12,964+VAT.
FIAT: The Ducato comes in a range of three wheelbases and three height options, with crew and dropside variants. The 2.3 diesels punch between 130hp-180hp, from €23,280+VAT.
FORD: The Transit Custom is significantly improved in style detail, cabin and engines, with 2-litre diesels in 105/130/170hp versions, Manual and automatic choices, from €24,515 inc VAT.
IVECO: The Daily large van comes in panel, crew cab and chassis cab versions, from 3.5t GVW. POA.
LDV: Offers V80 range in low, medium and high-roof versions, with crew cabs and chassis cab options. A 2.5 diesel powers, and there's also a fully electric version. POA.
MERCEDES: The Sprinter is the current best-selling model, with a brand new generation coming in June. A wide range of variants, in panel, crew-cab and chassis, and a range of 2.3 diesels, from €24,667+VAT.
NISSAN: The NV300 medium van has panel, crewcab and chassis options, two lengths and two heights. The 1.6 diesel ranges from 95hp-145hp, from €22,995 inc VAT.
OPEL: The Vivaro van has double cab and platform cab variants, powered by a 1.6 diesel in 95hp/120hp versions, from €23,245 inc VAT.
PEUGEOT: The Partner small van is available in two lengths powered by a 1.6 diesel, from €16,055 inc VAT.
RENAULT: The Trafic medium van comes in two lengths and two heights, as well as crew van, and platform cab. The power comes from a 1.6 diesel. From €23,645 inc VAT.
TOYOTA: Their Proace medium van has panel a crew cab versions. Engines are 1.6 or 2.0 diesels, from €21,245 inc VAT.
VOLKSWAGEN: The Caddy is a consistent favourite with small businesses and craftspeople. Power from 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4 petrol, and 2.0 diesel. From €15,765 inc VAT.
* All prices indicative at the time of writing