The construction and building industry was one of the drivers behind the uptick in commercial van leasing.  -  Ford Motor Co.

The construction and building industry was one of the drivers behind the uptick in commercial van leasing.

Ford Motor Co.

The industry association the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) reports that the number of commercial vehicles being leased has increased substantially during 2021.

Representing leasing companies in the UK, the BVRLA said that 80,000 vans had joined the total fleet last year, raising its overall fleet to pre-pandemic levels.

In total, there were 355,380 commercial vehicle registrations last year, says industry body SMMT, so the number of vans leased represents just over 22% of this amount.

In the report (BVRLA Leasing Outlook April 2022), the association noted that the increase was due to the rising demand for delivery vehicles and in the construction sector, but it also noted that safety organizations were calling for for manufacturers to place more focus on fitting crash reduction technology to bring vehicles up to the standards fleets expect from their cars. A key focus is the ADAS collision avoidance system, which experts say reduces the risk of crashes by 35%.

Recently the Euro NCAP safety organization revealed a list of the best and worst commercial vans available on the European market based on an evaluation of crash avoidance system fitment and performance.

Announcing its findings, Euro NCAP said:

“​​Last year, Euro NCAP drew attention to the poor level of fitment of safety equipment to commercial vans. As the workhorse of choice for couriers and small businesses, these vehicles spend a lot of time on the road where, because of their size and mass, they represent a larger hazard to smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users if they are involved in a collision. New legislation will force van manufacturers to fit basic avoidance systems, already widely available on passenger cars, in a few years’ time. In the meantime, Euro NCAP’s commercial van ratings aim to encourage manufacturers to fit more advanced systems more quickly.”

The Fiat Ducato was the top-scoring van in the recent Euro NCAP commercial vehicle safety tests.  -  Euro NCAP

The Fiat Ducato was the top-scoring van in the recent Euro NCAP commercial vehicle safety tests.

Euro NCAP

The Fiat Ducato top-scored by some margin and gaining platinum status. It was followed by Ford Transit, Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit Custom, and the Mercedes-Benz Vito. gg

Propping up the table was Nissan Interstar in last place, with Renault Master and Citroen Jumper (Relay in the UK) sitting above it.

The table certainly provides useful guidance for fleet managers in their choice of vehicle, suggesting higher safety features should be considered along with Total Cost of Ownership as part of their Environmental, Social and Governance remit.

Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, summed up:

“We are seeing promising signs that commercial vans are being upgraded with more advanced safety systems, closing the gap between passenger cars and the commercial vehicle segment. In general, it looks as though manufacturers are starting to take the safety in this segment more seriously and, while there is a way to go, we are inspired by the improvements – some modest, some impressive – that we have seen in the last year.”

To view the Euro NCAP ratings, click here: Commercial Van Ratings.

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