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'White van man' bows out while LCV sales rise 15%

British dealers are continuing to enjoy booming van sales despite a general slowdown in UK economic growth. Sales of light commercial vehicles are up 15 per cent so far this year (2002 total: 322,255), and most volume-brand commercial vehicle dealers are enjoying brisk business.

Peugeot, for example, recently launched 40 special van centres among its franchised network to cater for the growing market. Volkswagen has completed its 85-strong standalone LCV sales network, and Renault is trialling solus van service centres prior to national roll-out.

The RMI's franchised dealer division director Alan Pulham says the internet boom has boosted demand for home delivery operators.

The SMMT adds that an increase in financing and purchasing options, an upsurge in car-derived vans sales, and a migration from 7.5-ton vehicles to LCVs were all factors.

“We have had eight straight months of business investment growth – and the sales of vans this year confirm confidence and transport investment,” says Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive.

Product-led growth is backed by research from Renault, which shows the structure of the van market shifting. The study claims the stereotypical 'white van man' is on the decline – increasing numbers of buyers are asking for vans in silver, and were sticking strictly to service and maintenance schedules.

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