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How times change: now parents are buying vans for their children


The Volkswagen Caddy.

The Volkswagen Caddy.

The Volkswagen Caddy.

IT is a heart-warming side of the recovery. Parents are buying vans for their apprentice sons and daughters so they will have the transport and equipment to get their career rolling when they qualify.

It is in stark contrast with what would have happened a few years back. More likely they would have been buying them a one-way ticket to Australia or Canada.

But with renewed levels of hope and confidence, the parents are now investing in what they hope is a future for their children here. Long may that continue.

They are one of several factors contributing to the 50pc increase in sales of new vans so far this year. A 50pc increase is significant by any standards but, of course, everything has to be put in perspective.

Sales are coming off a low base. There has been a cumulative lag of purchasing for several years as businesses conserved in their battle to survive.

Sadly, many didn't make it. Now those who did are starting the process of rebuilding and re-investing. But it is early days.

Volkswagen's commercials chief Alan Bateson, who has noted how parents are purchasing for their children (PCPs especially where around €3,000 of a deposit can put them in a Caddy for example), takes a broad view of trends.

On the one hand he acknowledges the buoyancy; on the other he is aware that sales are pulling up from scary depths.

The increasing role of parents is, he says, a significant sign of confidence and hope.

With PCPs for commercials now a reality (Volkswagen have started - others will follow), it will be easier to get into a new vehicle. PCPs have played a key role in maintaining or increasing car sales.

For many people there is still a tough choice: stick with ageing vehicles or buy or lease a new van.

The figures suggest quite a few are taking the latter options.

To be precise, light commercials/van sales are up 51pc (15,900) this year, according to SIMI statistics.

It is always dangerous to highlight one particular month but in this case it is worth noting that October buying alone represented a 79pc increase on the corresponding month for 2013. That is 1,370 compared with 766.

Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) registrations are also up (12pc) for October.

They are now running 23pc ahead of 2013 to date.

The latest Central Statistics Office figures also show substantial growth in the number of new goods vehicles licensed.

It will be interesting to see what next year brings.

There is hope and caution - and parents prepared to invest in more than just a van.

Irish Independent