Van-dependent businesses contribute £120bn a year to UK economy

A new study reports that van-dependent businesses contributed a total of £120 billion to the UK economy in 2014, an increase of 16 per cent compared with 2010.

The report, commissioned by Ford, highlights continuing growth in usage, driven by transport for online shopping and newly-created businesses in trades like painting, plumbing and plastering; and ongoing demand from traditional van-based industries like building, maintenance/repair, utilities and transport.

“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.

“As our economy changes and evolves – with shifts to online shopping for example – demand for Transit is only rising.”

The rapid growth of online commerce has contributed to a continuing increase in the number of working vans, evidenced by Ford van sales tracking over 27 per cent up on a year ago.  The four-vehicle Transit range accounts for one in four new commercial vehicles sold in the UK this year.  

Van sales and usage also have been boosted by the birth of many new small businesses, in the UK especially, following the financial crisis.

Construction trades like painting, plastering and plumbing have shown rapid growth, with more than 24,000 new businesses established in 2013, 30 per cent more than in 2010.

In addition, 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, such as through the tax contribution to public finances. In the UK, van drivers covered 64 billion miles last year, up by 20 per cent compared with 2008, generating more than £5 billion in fuel duty.

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