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White van man death claim 'a mystery'

By Kyle Lindsay
Friday, March 7, 2014 - 14:30

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MYTH: Manheim rubbish common perception

Widespread claims of lower numbers of white vans on the UK roads are myths, Manheim figures have suggested.

The UK’s biggest remarketer take around 85% of their stock from the corporate sector – and data shows there has only been a small drop in white vans over the last few years.

James Davis, Head of Commercial Vehicles at Manheim, said: “Perception and reality are often at odds with each other and this certainly seems to be the case where white vans are concerned.

“While there’s a widely held view that we’re seeing fewer white vans on the roads, industry figures don’t really support that.

“In fact, our data shows that the proportion of vans going through the auction halls has actually only dropped by 2%, from 68% of used vans in 2005 to 66% in 2013.

“So, this idea that we’re seeing fewer white vans is something of a mystery.

“This idea that we’re seeing fewer white vans is something of a mystery.”

James Davis, Manheim

“There are probably other factors at play here, skewing our perception of the number of white vans we’re seeing.

“From our market intelligence, we can say that while the volumes of white vans seen at auction have dipped slightly since 2008, we’ve seen the volumes of silver vans jump by more than 5%.

“This is a significant shift in the colour mix of vans, that may simply be catching our attention, thus prompting us to register new van colours entering the market, to the detriment of your ‘common or garden’ white Transit.”

Latest quarterly road traffic stats from the Department for Transport actually show the number of miles driven by light goods vehicles – typically white vans – has increased by 5.1%.

According to Mr Davis, this suggests tradesmen have been quiet during the recession and have simply kept their vans on the drive.

“These traffic figures are really interesting and do suggest that there’s more to the apparent lack of white vans on our roads than meets the eye,” he said.

“It is probably a mixture of marginally falling sales, an increase on other colour vans such as silver and the impact of the downturn that has created the impression that the classic white van is on the wane.

“It’s common for retail buyers to associate colour with well-known and instantly recognisable household names.

“These customer-facing van fleets operate in the full visibility of communities across the UK.

“Take the AA, British Gas, RAC and Royal Mail.

“Used buyers recognise this ‘corporate uniform’ and assign a value in terms of a positive perception about the quality of these vans and their provenance.

“That’s not to say white vans are worth less; condition is key and impacts values more than colour in isolation.”

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