The BVRLA’s 2018 Industry Outlook Report predicts another year of steady growth for the van leasing and rental sector, although many of its members believe that any sudden shift in the economy could cause them to rip-up their forecasts.

Highlights from the commercial vehicle section of the report include:

  • The CV market will continue to polarize between firms working with HGVs and those specialising in vans.
  • There are growing concerns about the risk profile of a new generation of self-employed, ‘gig economy’ van drivers.
  • The rising use of safety technology and participation in industry-led best practice schemes will avert any need for regulation of the LCV market.

As with 2017, the report expects demand to come from a number of channels:  “A new generation of smaller business customers are being lured by the cash-flow and risk management benefits of contract hire or finance leases.  Many of these are sole traders undertaking home deliveries, a trend that many BVRLA members are concerned about from a credit and operational risk perspective.”  Another growth area will be operators choosing to replace their non-core HGV fleet with vans, to reduce driver costs and the administrative burden.

BVRLA members are divided on whether and how the van sector could be regulated, but most feel it is unlikely to happen next year.  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 dash-cams and smartphone telematics.”

Finally, the outlook for HGV rental and leasing appears less clear:  “The sector is undoubtedly well placed to provide an affordable and flexible low-emission Euro VI solution to hauliers concerned about urban Clean Air Zones, but Brexit-related economic and trade uncertainty could dampen demand.”