UK demand for new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) surged by 21.0% in 2023, reaching 341,455 units, as per the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Each month, more businesses invested in fleet renewal compared to the previous year, resulting in a record influx of zero-emission vans onto Britain’s roads.
In 2023, an additional 59,316 LCVs of various types and sizes were registered compared to 2022, following a £2 billion increase in spending by companies fulfilling essential roles in the economy, spanning from local trades to online delivery services. December notably experienced a 36.1% surge in demand, marking the strongest month since 2015. As a result of increased vehicle investment throughout the year, 2023 witnessed the highest demand for new vans since the sector’s post-pandemic recovery in 2021, with the market just -6.6% below 2019 levels.
Demand for the largest vans (weighing more than 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes) continued to rise by 9.4%, representing 66.9% of all new van registrations, driven by operators opting for payload efficiencies. Medium-sized vans (above two tonnes to 2.5 tonnes) saw the largest growth, surging by 78.4% to 57,992 units, catering to urban operators' requirements for heavy load carrying capacity and smaller vehicle sizes.
New battery electric vans (BEVs) witnessed a positive trend, reaching record volumes with a 21.0% increase to 20,253 units, constituting 5.9% of the market. December saw a remarkable 73.8% surge in BEV uptake, with the greenest vehicles representing 10.0% of registrations, marking the second-highest monthly BEV share.
The Ford Transit Custom was the best-selling model of the year, followed by its larger sibling the Ford Transit dimensions. Third place in the rankings went to the Vauxhall Vivaro dimensions and the first and only pick-up truck in the top ten was the Ford Ranger.
Despite these advancements, the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, mandating 10% of every van manufacturer’s sales to be BEVs this year, poses challenges. Flatlined BEV market share in 2023 compared to 2022 highlights the need to align LCV demand with supply, necessitating immediate action to address barriers to BEV uptake, particularly the shortage of van-suitable public chargers. A sustained commitment to the Plug-in Van Grant is essential for facilitating a seamless transition across all sectors and regions of the country.
Helion embarked on a monumental shift, revamping its commercial vehicle fleet to all-electric, culminating in the world's largest handover of Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo vans to the Swiss solar industry leader at the Attisholz site in Switzerland.
"We are delighted that Helion is committed to the ID. Buzz Cargo as a service vehicle and will also use self-generated solar power for carbon-neutral operation of its fleet," said Lars Krause, VWCV's Board of Management member, as he passed the keys to the Helionauts alongside representatives from the Swiss importer.
Noah Heynen, Helion's CEO, said: "With the conversion of our commercial vehicle fleet to electric power, we are also driving forward the energy transition within the company."
Heynen emphasized the importance of being ambassadors for their vision and the energy transition, stating, "As of today, around 100 of our technicians from all over Switzerland are on the road electrically."
He highlighted the benefits of electric vehicles, noting, "Electric vehicles are ideally suited for company fleets due to short distances between metropolitan areas and a dense fast charging network."
Heynen outlined the company's proactive approach, mentioning the establishment of an operational support group before the changeover to test the vehicles and address challenges.
"Helion plans to save around 300 tonnes of CO2 per year by switching to an electric fleet," Heynen said. "In addition, customers benefit from even more sustainable solar systems, as Helion technicians are now all on the road with electric commercial vehicles."
Helion invested in charging infrastructure, ensuring smooth day-to-day operations and financing home charging options for Helionauts.
"Together, we are making our contribution to achieving the climate goals and assuming responsibility as a company," Heynen concluded, stressing the long-term goal of halting climate change.
The new 2025 Volkswagen Transporter has gone on sale (in Germany) ahead of it's arrival in the European market in 2025.
The next generation of the Transporter van will be based on the Ford Transit Custom, and will be the successor to the Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 which has been on sale 2015 and ended production in 2023.
The newest Volkswagen Transporter van has yet to be named, and although there is some doubt that the Transporter will continue to use the numbering system that has been in place since the Transporter T1 was introduced in 1949, there's a strong chance we'll be seeing the Volkswagen Transporter T7 in 2025.
The collaboration with Ford, however, does mean that Volkswagen is no longer involved in the production of the Transporter van, but the next generation Transporter will be a customer vehicle derived from the Ford product. The Transporter's traditional production home in Hannover has been retooled to produced other vehicles including the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo. The Volkswagen Amarok pick-up truck, which was also produced in Hannover, has also been changed to a Ford collaboration product and is now based on the Ford Ranger pick-up which is built in South Africa and Thailand.
The new Transporter will also be launched as a Caravelle people mover, which will be a close relation of the Volkswagen-made Volkswagen Multivan.
The new platform with its increased exterior length, width and wheelbase has meant that the Volkswagen Transporter will have a greater load volume and payload capacity. The new Transporter range in 2025 will have a load volume starting at 5.8 m3. The increase in the van's width will mean that the maximum width between the wheelarches for the Volkswagen Transporter will be increased by 148mm to a maximum of 1,392 mm.
Payload of the next Transporter in the standard wheelbase, and as a diesel model, will increase to 1.3 tonnes - up from 1.2 tonnes.
The maximum trailer towing weight also increases from 2.5 tonnes to 2.8 tonnes for the diesel vans.
For the first time, the new Transporter will be available with a plug-in hybrid option called Transporter eHybrid. There will also be a fully electric driveline eTransporter that will be an official model in the line-up - unlike the Volkswagen 6.1 eTransporter which was made by ABT.
Sales will start with the turbodiesel models which will be launched with panel van, panel van Plus, panel van with L-partition and double cab models.
Diesel variants will have three outputs of 81kW (110 PS), 110kW (150 PS) and 125kW (170 PS).
The range will then be increased with a plug-in hybrid driveline which will come with 171kW (233 PS).
Finally, the fully electric Transporter range will have a total of four electric motors with 85kW (116 PS), 100kW (136 PS), 160kW (218 PS) and 210kW (286 PS).
Battery options for the fully electric Transporter will include 83 kWh, while the entry-level model with 85kW motor will get a 54kWh battery.
TDI and eHybrid models will be front-wheel drive as standard, but a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is available as an option for the TDI versions from 110kW upwards.
Electric model Transporter vans will be rear-wheel drive but an all-wheel drive version is also planned.
Prices for German specification models, which are now available to order, will start from €36,780 euros.
The Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok have been named as the winners of the International Pick-up Award (IPUA) following the announcement and twin-trophy presentation at the Solutrans in Lyon, France.
Announced at a gala dinner at the EuroExpo fair on 22 November, it is a ‘hat-trick’ of IPUA victories for the pair. The co-developed product saw the jury decide to share the award between the two brands and models. Their combined victory and unprecedented hat-trick is the first time this has occurred since the global honour was established in 2010.
“Following the IPUA 2023 Group Tests, held in Greece last month, it was impossible to separate the two models from each other, as both the new Ranger and Amarok were co-developed and are made at the Ford factory in South Africa. Although a collaboration project, each manufacturer has managed to maintain their unique styling and driving traits, which customers will testify,” explained Jarlath Sweeney, chairman of the International Pick-Up Award jury.
The seventh running of the award sees the sixth generation Ranger adding to the titles it won in 2013 and 2020. Thel Amarok won the inaugural trophy in 2011 and again in 2018 with the upgraded version of the Amarok V6. The Ranger and the Amarok beat competition from the Ford Ranger Raptor and the Toyota Hilux GR Sport II.
For Ford Pro, there was also a significant double in securing the International Van of the Year award for the Transit Custom.
Commenting prior to the handover of the twin trophy presentation, Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro Europe, said: “We are delighted that the Ford Ranger has been recognised by the IPUA jury for the third time, which is testament to its enduring appeal as Europe’s favourite pickup for the past eight years. The new Ford Ranger has the most comprehensive series choice yet, offering customers the on-road refinement and off-road capability to suit work days and weekends. It’s built ready for work and play.”
Volkswagen member of the brand management board responsible for procurement, Karl Bernqvist, said: “The Amarok is a pick-up that delivers reliable performance both on and off the road. It impressed the jury in both cases. The International Pick-up Award for 2024/2025 means the Amarok has already achieved the ‘treble’ in just 14 years of production. This demonstration of trust honours the entire team at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. We would like to say thank you!”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed details of its second-generation Volkswagen Crafter van with a new interior and assistance systems.
The design sketches show the focal point of the upgrade to be a redesigned cockpit featuring a state-of-the-art infotainment system with new 10.3-inch infotainment display or the option of a 12.9-inch version.
Based on VW's latest modular infotainment matrix (MIB), it also incorporates digital insturment clusters to provide drivers with various views and customisable displays via a multifunction steering wheel.
The cockpit also gets a new electronic parking brake, multifunction steering wheel, and a drive selector lever inspired by the ID. Buzz model.
Karsten Franz, head of technical development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: "We have updated the Crafter’s electronics architecture to integrate the next-generation infotainment, assist, and convenience systems into the successful model. This means the Crafter will remain the most advanced commercial vehicle model series in its class."
The new infotainment system features a visually free-standing display with a newly developed graphic interface, self-explanatory menu navigation, and a range of touch sliders for easy control of various functions. The addition of a Car Control Centre allows direct access to essential vehicle functions without closing active apps. The 2024 Volkswagen Crafter will also introduce a new online voice control system that responds to natural voice commands. The interior redesign extends to the electronic parking brake and selector lever, providing more space and improved access in the vehicle.
Upgrade includes new assist systems, such as a blind spot information system, moving-off information system, oncoming vehicle braking when turning function, Front Assist, Lane Assist, Dynamic Road Sign Display, speed limiter, and acoustic Park Distance Control for the rear area. The optional Travel Assist combines Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Assist for enhanced safety and convenience on long journeys.
The revamped Crafter will continue its tradition of offering a diverse range of body types, weight classes, wheelbases, overall lengths, roof heights, and drive options. The efficient and high-torque four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines will deliver 103 kW (140 PS), 120 kW (163 PS), and 130 kW (177 PS). Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles aims to meet a variety of customer and body requirements, offering both light duty and heavy-duty options.
Pre-sales of the upgraded Crafter are set to commence in Europe in April 2024, followed by releases in other markets, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America.
The new model represents a significant step forward in the evolution of one of the most modern commercial vehicles on the market, setting new standards in technology, design, and functionality.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has unveiled its new California CONCEPT camper van.
Derived from the long wheelbase version of the 2021 Multivan, the new California camper is a larger iteration compared to its predecessor, the California 6.1. With a pop-up roof providing nearly 2m in headroom, it is a new interpretation of the classic California introduced in 1988.
It’s main feature is new plug-in hybrid technology – a first for the California – which will bridge the gap between traditional ICE models and all-electric versions. The vehicle is equipped with lithium-ion batteries that supply an almost self-sufficient 12V power source.
The California CONCEPT also reimagines the living and kitchen areas with a sliding door on the kitchen side. Where the kitchen previously occupied the left side and the entrance was on the right, the California CONCEPT introduces a new layout similar to the larger Grand California model. The result is improved versatility and adaptability, enhanced by a folding-arm awning on one side and a sun sail on the other.
The three-zone concept divides the vehicle's functionality into distinct exterior and interior scenarios blending camping and everyday driving with its living space.
The California CONCEPT also introduces a new control system with a multifunctional tablet on the C-pillar to control features from the pop-up roof control to water levels and interior lighting functions. It also doubles up as an infotainment screen.
A production version with similar attributes is expected to be made in 2024.
Specifications and pricing for the new Volkswagen Amarok have been revealed with models starting from £33,000 and rising to £47,000 for the top-spec pick-up trucks.
The Amarok is available in a range of four trim levels with Life, Style, PanAmericana and Aventura models.
Entry-level trim called Amarok Life gets 17-inch Combra silver alloy wheels, LED headlamps, and a 10-inch infotainment screen. There’s also a rear-view reversing camera system to help with parking along with more than 20 standard safety systems. Amarok Life models are available exclusively with the entry-level 2-litre diesel engine producing either 170PS or 205PS – the latter of which gets an automatic 10-speed automatic.
The Amarok Style gets upgraded 18-inch Amadora silver alloy wheels, a chrome styling bar and black side steps with a chrome insert. There’s also a larger 12-inch central infotainment screen with satellite navigation. Additional safety systems include an Area View 360° camera. Amarok Style models have the option of the more powerful 2-litre diesel engine or a 3-litre V6 with 240hp – both of which get a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Next in the range is the Amarok PanAmericana which focuses on off-road ability with a rear locking differential, underride guard, as well as the comfort suspension system. PanAmericana also gets upgraded 18-inch black Amadora alloy wheels.
The top of the range Amarok Aventura is available with 21-inch Varberg silver alloy wheels, chrome-plated exterior mirror and door handles, and premium bumper.
Both the PanAmericana and Aventura are only available with the 3-litre V6 engine and automatic gearbox.
All new Amaroks get five services (which includes three oil changes, and two oil change and Inspection plus three MOTs. There’s also a five year warranty, extended from the standard three year warranty and five years’ roadside assistance.
|Total RRP inc. OTR ex. VAT
|Total RRP inc. OTR inc. VAT
|Life 170PS 2.0 TDI 6-spd manual 4MOTION
|Life 205PS 2.0 TDI 10-spd Automatic 4MOTION
|Style 205PS 2.0 TDI 10-spd Automatic 4MOTION
|Style 240PS 3.0 TDI 10-spd Automatic 4MOTION
|PanAmericana 240PS 3.0 TDI 10-spd Automatic 4MOTION
|Aventura 240PS 3.0 TDI 10-spd Automatic 4MOTION
Rising inflation, unstable supply chains and the war in Ukraine all contributed to a challenging year for Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge (Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles) according CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management, Carsten Intra. Despite these pressures, however, the German van manufacturer still managed to achieve earnings of more than half a billion euros for the second year in a row.
At the end of the 2022 financial year VW recorded an operating profit of €529m, even though vehicle deliveries dropped slightly. Sales increased to €11.5bn compared to €9.9bn in the previous year thanks to the success of the Volkswagen ID Buzz and Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo. Although Intra says that sales of pure BEVs are still at a low level, he believes this should rise quickly.
Global vehicle deliveries by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles fell from 359,500 to 328,600 units but crucially their market share improved in some of the most important regions. Its performance in Europe saw a 1.5% increase to almost 13% and according to its own statements, VWCV achieved an improved market share of more than 23% in its home market of Germany.
Although 2022 was the year VW re-entered the pick-up truck segment with the new Ford-manufactured Amarok, based on the Ford Ranger, it was very much a year for EVs, with a total of 7,500 all-electric vehicles delivered to customers – more than twice the number of electric vehicles registered in the previous year. Volkswagen’s electric commercial vehicles are, however, still only making up a fraction of total market sales in Europe at just 2.3% of the overall segment.
Yet, the demand for Volkswagen vans also led to record levels for their order book with nearly 300,000 vehicles on order. The Hanover plant, previously used to produce Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups but now producing the ID Buzz should reach full capacity during this year, producing 900 vehicles a day to help clear the backlog.
VWCV’s return on sales also grew to 4.6% and is forecast to exceed 5% this year, yet cashflow levels have been highlighted as an area for improvement with reserves of just €259m largely due to bottlenecks in transport and deliveries. The target is to increase that number to €500m. Perhaps most notable of all the achievements though, is the reversal of fortunes from the beginning of the pandemic to today.
“If we take the two years 2021 and 2022 together, our combined profit turnaround amounts to around one billion euros,” said Michael Obrowski, Board Member for Finance.
In their annual market briefing, Obrowski said these figures were a solid foundation for profitable growth and are thanks to an increasing trend towards customers choosing higher-end models that have a better profit margin. There was also repeated mention of the company’s pursuit of autonomous driving which is expected to spur further sales and revenues.
In 2023, VWCV will conduct extensive driving tests in Munich of autonomous mobility vehicles with a view to launching autonomous vehicles in series production by 2025.
“We will be presenting the production version of our ID Buzz AD [Autonomous Driving] vehicles to you in 2025. Initially, they will be used at [ride sharing service] MOIA in Hamburg. Other cities in Germany and the USA will follow. Sustainability is not just an agenda item in our programme; it is actually the foundation for everything that we do,” Intra said.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the leading brand for autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group and is therefore also responsible for the development of the MaaS (Mobility as a Service) and TaaS (Transport as a Service) business areas.
“We want to actively do our part to contribute towards handing over an intact foundation to future generations for living and working. This is our vision and our responsibility,” Intra added.
Their so-called ‘ESG strategy’ – Environment, Social Responsibility and Governance – forms part of Intra’s priority objectives for 2023 that all contribute to the Grip 2030 corporate strategy, a group objective to sell more than 55% green EVs, and which includes the further electrification of VWCV's vehicle fleet.
Amongst Intra’s targets are ambitious operating results, customer centricity and premium status, BEV transformation as well as sustainability and decarbonisation.
Product evolution and the partnership with Ford will also play a significant role going forward. The ID Buzz will be launched later this year as a long wheelbase passenger variant, but a larger commercial vehicle won’t be forthcoming and will instead be met with other models.
After the success of the plug-in hybrid Multivan, VWCV will continue to expand its range of powertrains alongside future BEV models with the Volkswagen Caddy being offered as a PHEV. VW says they see a need for private and commercial customers who complete a lot of long distances but want emission-free city driving. As a result, in the future, the electric ranges of the plug-in hybrids will be up to 100km. However, interest in a CNG-powered Caddy appears to have slipped from the agenda.
On the topic of e-fuels – a much debated subject at the time of the annual briefing due to Germany and several other countries’ dissent to the outright ban of combustion fuels – Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is not planning on developing any specific solutions, saying “the development of ICE engines is focusing on the most demanding emission standard, EU7. The developments in different regions are closely monitored. It is our clear objective to offer our customers in each country the respective best marketable emission standard”.
Other markets in the East will be targeted, where in addition to Japan, the ID Buzz is also to be launched in Singapore as well as Turkey and Israel. In total Volkswagen CV products are expected to appear in a further 15 countries.
With new markets, models and powertrains on the horizon, one thing that is for certain is that the e-Crafter successor is not coming anytime soon. Any replacement won’t be due until 2027, when it will likely be based on Ford’s E-Transit as the relationship with its new alliance partner develops.
The next chapter of their joint co-operation will be for the replacement of the Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 which will see order books for the Volkswagen-made van close from mid-2024 due to the enormous demand and the resulting high order backlog. New versions, however, have been confirmed to have diesel, plug-in hybrid and pure electric van drivetrains.
The ID Buzz is bringing enviable levels of success to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and much of the future outlook for the firm rests on the development of the model and its connected systems. The strategy of how VWCV grows into new and emerging transport sectors is being laid out here and now, and with revenues and increasing returns the path to their 2030 objectives looks promising.
When it comes to towing and determining what is the best van for towing it’s crucial to consider several factors as there are so many models and variations available. It can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for your needs.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key factors to consider when selecting a van for towing, and recommend some of the best models currently on the market.
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a van for towing is weight capacity. The weight capacity is the maximum amount of weight that the van can safely tow, including the weight of the trailer and any cargo inside. Exceeding the weight capacity can result in dangerous overloading. This can lead to a loss of control, reduced braking ability, and damage to your vehicle.
Before selecting a van for towing, it’s important to determine how much weight you’ll need to tow. This will depend on the size and weight of the trailer, as well as any cargo that will be transported. Once you have an estimate of the total weight, you can look for vans with a weight capacity that exceeds this amount. Pick-up trucks also have the ability to tow. Most pick-up trucks can tow more than 3 tonnes, and many can tow the maximum 3.5-tonnes.
In addition to weight capacity, power and performance are also important factors to consider when selecting the best van for towing. Vans with larger engines and higher horsepower will generally be better suited for towing heavy loads. Similarly, vans with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive may provide better traction and handling on rough or slippery terrain.
When evaluating vans for towing, it’s important to look at factors such as horsepower, torque, and towing capacity. These specifications will give you a good idea of the van’s overall power and performance capabilities, and help you determine whether it’s a good fit for your towing needs.
Towing can be a dangerous activity, particularly if the trailer is large or heavy. To minimise the risk of accidents or injuries, it’s important to select a van with strong safety features. Some important safety features to look for when selecting a van for towing include:
You'll need to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with a tow bar, which typically includes a ball mount and clip. Additionally, you'll need to have a wiring harness to ensure the towed unit's electrical system, including the brake lights, is functioning properly. It is also essential to have a spare number plate for the vehicle you're towing with to display on the trailer.
It's worth noting that large vans generally have a towing capacity exceeding 3000kg, allowing them to tow a wide range of trailers, however, even among different versions of the same van model, the towing capacity can vary significantly. Check the plated weights of the vehicle – these can usually be found inside the door frame of the van.
Finally, it's crucial to take into account the van's gross train weight (GTW) or gross combination weight (GCW). This weight represents the maximum combined amount the kerbweight of the van, its load, and the trailer can be. For example, if your 3.5-tonne van can tow up to 3000kg, you'll need a GTW of 6.5 tonnes to use both the van and the trailer fully loaded. If the GTW is lower, you'll need to adjust the payload of either one or both accordingly.
With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best vans currently on the market for towing.
Ford Pro has notched up an impressive eighth successive year as market leader in Europe.
Ford recorded its highest-ever overall market share of 15% beating Renault into second position with a 14.4% market share. Ford also increased its share year-over-year in a total of eleven countries. These included Britain - where the Ford Transit Custom van was also the most popular of all vehicles - Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Turkey.
“Setting a new record of eight consecutive years of European market leadership demonstrates how much our commercial customers rely on Ford’s vans and pickups to deliver for their business. As we roll out our unique platform of software, charging and services across Europe, we are determined to ensure Ford Pro remains our customers’ trusted partner for productivity,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro, Europe.
The growth comes as Ford looks to revitalise its line-up as it prepares for electrification. The large electric Ford E-Transit is now available in all markets after its launch earlier in 2022, while details of the upcoming Ford E-Transit Custom and new Transit Custom PHEV were revealed at the Hannover IAA trade show.
Ford Pro also unveiled its integrated platform of software, charging, servicing and financing, purpose-built to accelerate the productivity and sustainability of businesses of all sizes across Europe.
Rounding off the year, Ford also unveiled the new Ford Ranger and Ford Ranger Raptor pick-up trucks. The pick-up truck platform will also be used by Volkswagen for their re-entry in the pick-up truck market with the new Volkswagen Amarok. Unsurprisingly, the Ford Ranger also marked an eighth successive years as Europe’s most popular pickup truck.
Ford Pro was Europe's commercial vehicle sales leader in 2022, marking an eighth successive year of market leadership for Ford and a new record in the industry.
The Ford Transit Custom was the best-selling one-tonne van in Europe and the best selling vehicle in the UK in 2022.
Ford's market leadership in Britain is currently 57 consecutive years.
The all-electric successor of the Transit Custom van is the E-Transit Custom, which is arriving in late 2023.
Ford Pro's new product launched in spring 2022 was the all-electric E-Transit van, which has led European monthly sales of the two-tonne EV van segment since June last year and attracted over 1,750 UK orders. They also announced a new Ford Ranger pick-up and a successor to the Ford Transit Custom PHEV.
Ford Pro is the name for the commercial vehicle division of Ford and it unveiled its integrated platform of software, charging, servicing, and financing, purpose-built to accelerate the productivity and sustainability of businesses of all sizes across Europe.