2018 should bring a steady year of growth for the van leasing and rental sector, with industry regulation unlikely and continued diesel dominance a strong certainty.
That’s the view of the BVRLA and its members as outlined in its 2018 Industry Outlook Report, published today (30 November) at its annual industry conference at Nottingham’s East Midlands Conference Centre, as the association reveals that the industry is ready to embrace the market challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.
For the van industry, the report outlines that BVRLA members are united in predicting another year of steady growth for the van leasing and rental sector, although most also warned that any sudden shift in the economy could cause them to rip up their forecasts. 2018 will also see members continue to diversify their products, offering short-term, long-term and flexible rental or contract hire, finance lease and hybrid products that combine bits of both. And as with this year, demand will come from a number of channels, including SMEs increasingly lured by the cashflow and risk management benefits of contract hire or finance leases and operators replacing non-core HGV fleets with vans to reduce the regulatory burden.
Kevin Bradshaw, chief executive of BVRLA member Northgate, said: “More and more operators are moving away from 7.5t trucks into larger panel or Luton vans, because there is much less regulation.”
Members also expressed growing concerns around the risk profile of a new generation of self-employed, ‘gig economy’ van drivers.
The report also says that BVRLA members are divided on the issue of whether and how the van market could be regulated, but most agree that this is unlikely to happen in 2018. They point to the growing membership of self-regulatory industry best-practice bodies, including the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme and Van Excellence, and to the increasing uptake of third-party safety technology, in the form of dashcams and smartphone telematics.
Finally, the report also sets out that while hybrids and EVs will increasingly make inroads into the company car sector, diesel’s dominance of the commercial vehicle market will not change due to payload, range and running costs considerations.