Managing rising fuel prices, vehicle purchase and running costs, and protecting vans from future regulation are all key priorities for the modern day van operators according to the 2013 Nissan Van Report.
Surveying 252 people responsible for operating vans, the report aims to understand more of the challenges faced by running vans.
One such challenge is fuel prices. Since 2001 diesel prices have doubled to an average of 139.8p per litre and not surprisingly 75% of fleet managers surveyed were taking measures to control or reduce fuel use, although a quarter of them are still doing nothing.
One half (51%) of respondents said driver training is the most popular measure to reduce fuel use, along with technological interventions such as speed limiters (37%) and telematics (35%).
Costs are clearly a big driver for respondents adding vans to their fleet, with whole life costs (25%) and front-end prices (18%) major considerations. Contract hire monthly rates (12%) and strong residuals (8%) were also important but vehicle reliability was only listed by 7% of fleet managers.
The main appeal of running vans at below 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the lack of operating restrictions. Just 27% said they were in favour reflecting an increased focus on Duty of Care by companies, while 67% of respondents weren't in favour of further legislative measures being introduced.
Of this 27%, telematics devices (48%) were the most popular choices, while 42% supported adoption of an official driving test to allow drivers to drive a van.
When choosing features to add to their vans fleet managers unanimously chose satellite navigation systems (40%) followed by vehicle tracking (13%) and Bluetooth (11%).
Looking at how far vehicles travel on a daily basis nearly 40% of fleet managers said their drivers travel 100 miles or less per day, giving Nissan hope that it's new eNV200 electric van could be a viable option. Just one in five (22%) cover more than 200 miles each day.
"Our research gives an insight into what fleet managers are thinking and the challenges they face running a modern van fleet," explained Jon Pollock, Nissan's corporate sales director.
"It also gives the industry a better idea of what fleets are looking for when buying and running light commercials."