For the first time, and after many requests from readers interested in this data, I can share recent data on European LCV sales. Between 2009 and 2013, light commercial vehicle sales in Europe have fluctuated between 1,3 million and 1,55 million, with the top-10 best selling brands accounting for over 90% of sales. Eight brands in the top-10 are European, with two Japanese manufacturers competing in the bottom half of the top-10 with either clones of European vans or an in-house van produced locally in the continent.
LCV sales include mainly sales of cargo vans, which are available in four size categories in Europe, but also pick-up trucks, a category that’s hugely popular in the United States and other parts of the world, but not so in Europe, where less than 100.000 pick-ups are sold annually. Commercial versions of passenger cars and SUVs are also included in the LCV sales, but outside of France these types of vehicles make up just a small percentage of total light commercial vehicle sales in Europe.
It’s no secret that Renault is Europe’s long-time leader in LCV sales, thanks to strong sales in its home market and Europe’s largest LCV market France. At home, Renault not only sells its three-vehicle line-up of cargo vans Master, Trafic and Kangoo, but also LCV versions of its passenger cars, like the Clio and Megane. Renault has a share of around 15% of the market. However, due to Renault’s broad line-up, none of its commercial vans is in the top-3 of best selling LCVs.
Volkswagen, Europe’s largest brand for passenger cars, has been the number 2 player in commercial vehicles since 2011, with three vans and one pick-up truck: Crafter, Transporter, Caddy and Amarok.
In third place since 2011 as well we can find Ford, which has grown its line-up of Transit vans from just two in 2011 to four in 2014 with the Courier, Connect, Custom and regular Transit versions.
Peugeot and Citroën, together with Fiat, have had four cargo vans as well, but already since 2008, when they introduced the Citroën Nemo, Peugeot Bipper and Fiat Fiorino triplets at the bottom-end of their line-ups.
The Ford Transit is Europe’s best selling LCV nameplate, thanks to its strong market presence in Europe’s second largest LCV market the UK, where it was built until Ford moved production to Turkey in 2013. The Transit also benefits from having two models under one nameplate: the regular Transit and the new Transit Custom. Sales and market share of the Transit have increased in recent years, thanks to the introduction of the Custom version, as the large Transit has only been renewed in 2014.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter follows at a distance as Europe’s second best selling cargo van, outselling both its smaller sibling Vito, and its VW platform-mate Crafter.
In third place we find the T5 generation of the Volkswagen Transporter, its T1 predecessor credited with being the first European cab forward cargo van in the 1950s. The Transporter is leader in its segment, ahead of the Renault Trafic, which is found in 10th place overall.
In 2013, the Citroën Berlingo passed both the Renault Kangoo and Volkswagen Caddy to become the bestselling small cargo van, consistently outselling its clone Peugeot Partner.
As with the passenger vans, the Fiat Ducato is the best seller of the Sevel-Sud triplets Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Jumper, thanks to its well-established LCV dealer network. It is closely followed by the Renault Master in ninth place overall.
Opel has no models in the top-10, which is not surprising considering it has no self-developed LCVs, but relies on Renault for development and production of its Vivaro and Movano, and on Fiat for its Combo.
Nissan also relies on Renault for its two large cargo vans, while its in-house developed NV200 doesn’t appear in the models top-10, due to Nissan’s limited brand awareness with fleet customers and other LCV buyers.
Toyota sales have been relatively stable until 2012, when the HiAce was discontinued. In 2014, the Japanese brand introduced the ProAce, a fourth clone to the PSA-built Sevel-Nord vans Citroen Jumpy/Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Fiat Scudo.
% PV of total
When also taking into consideration passenger versions of these vans, a few things are noticeable: Volkswagen sells a relatively high percentage of its LCVs as passenger vans, over 45% for the Caddy and over 40% for the Transporter, while Mercedes-Benz sells mostly Sprinter cargo vans, at almost 94% of total sales. As a result, when combining sales of cargo vans and passenger vans, the Sprinter is kicked down from second to sixth place, while the Transporter and Caddy move onto the podium.
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