The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has clinched the top spot in the 2019 FN50 van reliability index for the fifth consecutive year.
- The FN50 provides unrivalled analysis and insight into the UK’s contract hire and leasing industry.
- The FN50 reliability index measures manufacturers and models by the fewest mechanical breakdowns and warranty claims per 100.
- The van sample from responding companies was 213,432, with scores aggregated to create the listing.
Not since 2014 has another light commercial vehicle (LCV) usurped the Sprinter – the UK’s third best-selling van – and its dominance shows no sign of abating with the latest generation model launched last year.
However, this wasn’t enough to see Mercedes-Benz make it a hat-trick of victories in the van manufacturer index. The company slips to number two, leapfrogged by Volkswagen, which returns to the top for the first time since 2015.
All three Volkswagen models are ranked in the top 10, with the Transporter taking second place ahead of the Caddy in third and the Crafter eighth.
While the Crafter has drifted from sixth a year ago, the Caddy continues yo-yoing; having fallen from second in 2017 (based on data from the outgoing model) to 10th in 2018, it has now surged back up the table as leasing companies’ experiences with the latest generation model launched two years ago improve.
Commenting on the result, Carl zu Dohna, director of Volkswagen commercial vehicles, said: “It’s great to be back on top of the FN50 reliability table, with this real-world data demonstrating the quality and durability of our products.
“We know that maximising uptime is the number one consideration for commercial vehicle operators, so it’s reassuring for customers choosing a van to know that our vehicles are less likely to find themselves off the road than those of other manufacturers.”
Market leader Ford, which has the UK’s two best-selling vans (Transit Custom and Transit), has three models in the top 15, albeit two are ranked slightly lower than last year. Transit Connect is ninth (2018: seventh), Transit is 11th (ninth) and Transit Custom is 12th (up one place on 2018).
Nevertheless, Ford retains its third spot in the manufacturer index and it still sells three times the number of vehicles compared with the second biggest selling marque, Volkswagen.
For reliability, it sits one place ahead of traditional rival Vauxhall, which moves up two places on last year. Now owned by Peugeot-Citroën parent PSA, Vauxhall features two vans in the top 15.
With the all-new Vivaro, now based on the PSA platform instead of sharing with Renault, launched earlier this year, the reliability figures are largely based on the outgoing model. It continues to be a strong performer (although limited availability due to the run-out of the old model has affected sales – Vivaro is down 20% year-to-date), coming in fourth – the same as last year.
The van, which will be further bolstered by a full electric version in mid-2020, has never been outside the top five since launch in 2015.
The Combo, launched last year, enters the fray in 14th. It has picked up some blue-chip clients, including Centrica, helping to boost sales by more than 5,500 units this year, although it sits behind the platform-sharing Citroën Berlingo in both registrations and reliability – Berlingo is seventh, the same place as last year.
The third of the triumvirate, Peugeot Partner, is also rated highly by leasing companies, in 10th, three places ahead of Peugeot’s other representative, the Boxer in 13th. Interestingly, the Partner is a bigger seller than both Combo and Berlingo so far this year.
Overall, Peugeot is fifth, one place behind Vauxhall but two ahead of Citroën, which also has the Dispatch in 15th. Splitting the two French van manufacturers is the third, Renault.
Its lofty position is primarily thanks to the excellent reliability of the Trafic, which moves up from 11th to fifth. While much of the Trafic’s underpinnings date back to its launch in 2001, an imminent facelift will see a new engine, the addition of a seven-speed automatic gearbox, improved quality of interior materials and a new infotainment system.
Completing the top 10 van brands is Nissan, down one place at eighth, Fiat, unchanged in ninth, and Mitsubishi, which swaps places with Toyota to take 10th. Isuzu and Iveco also received rankings, finishing 12th and 13th respectively.
Best performing LCV models (2018 in brackets)
|1 (1)||Mercedes-Benz Sprinter|
|2 (2)||VW Transporter|
|3 (10)||VW Caddy|
|4 (4)||Vauxhall Vivaro|
|5 (new)||Renault Trafic|
|6 (5)||Mercedes-Benz Vito|
|7 (3)||Citroën Berlingo|
|8 (7)||VW Crafter|
|9 (8)||Ford Transit Connect|
|10 (6)||Peugeot Partner|
Best performing LCV manufacturers (2018 in brackets)