Chart Of The Day: The Rise Of Commercial Van Sales In America – 2015 Q1
Commercial van sales are on the rise in the United States. But of greater interest than the improvements – total sales jumped 14% to 356,814 units in 2014 and are up 26% to 87,866 year-to-date – is the constant change in the category.
The best-selling commercial van in America in each of the last five months was the Ford Transit, a Euro-style van that’s replacing the Ford E-Series. Together, the Transit and similar-looking products from Mercedes-Benz (the established Sprinter) and Ram (the Fiat Ducato-based ProMaster), account for 39% of the commercial van market so far this year and 50.4% of the full-size category.
The small van sector, meanwhile, is growing rapidly. Sales are up 76% in early 2015. The quintet, led by the Ford Transit Connect and joined most recently by the Ram ProMaster City, generated 23% market share in 2015’s first-quarter, up from 17% a year ago. Click the chart for a larger view. Specific figures in the column are explained by the descriptions below with, for example, the Transit generating 22,881 first-quarter sales, the Sprinter 5,559, and the ProMaster 5,549.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.
For thirty years now I've been wondering if the US would ever get vans as well engineered as the competing European designs have been. MBZ finally went out of the limb by bringing the Sprinter in years ago, but the marketing has been a mess as it went from Freightliner to Dodge and now I guess to your choice of Mercedes or Freightliner badging. Alan Mulally deserves a lot of credit for forcing through his One Ford program which finally knocked down the US fiefdom which had long insisted on building the obsolete Exxx series. First he made an end run by importing the Transit Connect, then the job got finished by making the Transit the new standard Ford large van. Dodge is lucky to have Fiat designs to pull across the Atlantic. Nissan seems to resist building global vans ... maybe they just aren't into Renault? Their NV200 is a very credible alternative to the Transit connect though.
Too expensive the lot of them. Particular loathing for Sprinter's DEF fluid. Talk about a ghost in the machine. The locks & lights are finicky. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Sometimes it's a tap sometimes a replacement. Bluetec gets noisy with age. Rear drive with ballast option and all-weather tites works well in the snowbelt.
Has a favorite emerged among customizers? It's the base commercial vans that are converted to campers, vacation cruisers and shag boxes. There probably aren't enough cheap used ones around yet for the do it yourselfers, but after some fleet rollover, they should be in business too, though with the models with lowest resale value.
bought a ram promaster 2500 a month ago. great to travel in and carries alot of stuff. gets 18-19 hwy and averages around 14-16. brakes squeal but they are the best on stopping. I think these kinds of vans will start to pickup sales for rv and other uses. Love the fwd and that is the main reason i bought it. travel thru snow and slush in the winter and will never buy a rwd vehicle again. Ram handles great, turns quickly and seats are very comfortable. love the high roof and working on getting running boards for ease of entry. Transit was too expensive almost the same price as Sprinter. ram is much better pricewise.