Sales of Small Commercial Vans in the US rose by 6% in Q2 2016 to 24,162 vehicles, after an increase of 11% in the first quarter. Low fuel costs are weighing down on the segment, as some businesses might prefer a large cargo van instead. Still, considering their practical size for small deliveries and their manoeuverability, I believe there’s a market for vans this size in the US as well. The Mercedes-Benz Metris (as the Vito is called in the US) falls right inbetween the two cargo van segments, but its premium pricing puts in closer to the large commercial van segment. Bear in mind these figures also include the passenger versions of these vehicles, an area where Ford is particularly strong with the Transit Connect, and which Nissan is trying to break through with its taxi versions of the NV200, most notably as the new standard for New York City cabs.
Highlights in H1 2016:
- Ford Transit Connect is still the dominant leader of the segment, but being the only model to lose volume compared to 2015 (down 7%), its share of the segment has dropped from 56% to 48%, though it still sold more than twice as many units as the second-placed Nissan NV200 (sales up 20%).
- Ram ProMaster City is closing in on the Nissan to challenge for second place in the segment, with just 100 units separating the two models in Q2. It has tripled its sales of last year, but that’s not surprising if you bear in mind deliveries of the ProMaster City didn’t really start until the second quarter of 2015.
- Chevrolet City Express, which is a rebadged NV200, lost 10% in Q2 after a 40% gain in Q1. A monthly breakdown of sales proves just how much these types of vehicles depend on fleet sales: the City Express sold 1,769 units in April, but sales then plummeted to just 174 in May and 241 in June.