Where Have All the Compact Cargo Vans Gone?
The Departure of Small Cargo Vans in the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry has been a hub for innovation and transformation throughout its history, constantly adapting to consumer demands and technological advancements. One of the most prominent trends in recent times has been the departure of small or compact cargo vans from the automotive landscape. These versatile vehicles, such as the Ford Transit Connect, RAM ProMaster City, and Nissan NV200, were once a staple for businesses. However, increased production costs and safety requirements have put upward pressure on prices, causing demand to drop significantly. In this article, we will take a look at the changing inventory of vehicles and how it may impact your fleet.
Take Stock of Your Fleet
To develop a plan for the future, you will first need to “take stock” of where your fleet stands today. You will want to evaluate the number of small cargo vans in your fleet and assess the physical and mechanical condition of those vehicles. Consider how these vans get used by your team by reviewing questions such as:
- How many miles are currently on each van?
- How many miles get put on to each van as a result of regular operations?
- How many miles do you anticipate adding on in the future??
Gathering these details and comparing them to the expected use case will allow you to forecast future needs for replacement vehicles. You may discover that you have no immediate need for replacement. On the other hand, you may find that you need to begin assessing options immediately. Knowing where you stand is the first step in ensuring a smooth transition.
What Are Your Alternatives?
As the auto landscape continues to shift, fleets will need to explore alternative solutions to small or compact cargo vans to meet their business needs. There are several options available, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.
A viable option for fleets looking to stay within the cargo van category is to step up to a full-sized model. A full-sized van will act similar to a compact cargo van, just on a larger scale. These models will require little alterations when it comes to the day-to-day operations of your fleet. However, this alternative does come with drawbacks. A larger vehicle will naturally be more expensive than its compact counterpart, both in acquisition costs and fueling/maintenance costs. However, if a cargo van is integral to your needs, this option will ensure minimal downtime and disruption to your daily operations.
If a full-sized van won’t meet your needs, many fleets have explored pivoting to an SUV. Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) come in many different sizes and, depending on your needs, might be a good fit. SUVs are often available at a lower price than full-sized cargo vans. They also provide greater fuel efficiency, thus reducing operating costs. However, these vehicles will only be the perfect solution for some fleets as they don’t have the variety of “upfit” possibilities that cargo vans possess. An “upfit” is a set of vehicle accessories or enhancements for an existing vehicle customized to the fleet’s needs. These modifications may include internal shelving, roof racks, cooling units, hangars, etc. Ultimately, SUVs are a suitable option to explore if a full-sized van is not the right fit for your fleet.
How a Fleet Management Company Can Help
You shouldn’t go at it alone when navigating a large transition like this. Leaning on the experience and expertise of a well-established fleet management company can make the difference between a smooth transition and one with multiple operational disruptions and challenges. A fleet management company can take a holistic view of your entire fleet operation and develop a plan of action to put you in the best position in the short term while also setting your organization up for success for years to come. Their industry knowledge will guide you in the most efficient and economical way to right-size your fleet based on your company’s unique needs. Proactively working with a fleet management company will allow you to avoid pitfalls, preventing you from spending time worrying about your fleet and, instead, spending that time focusing on your daily business activities. If your fleet needs support assessing alternatives and navigating this change, contact us today; our experts will help you make an informed and strategic decision.
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