The Transit, now routinely the leader of the pack, posted its 16th consecutive year-over-year sales increase, rising 6% to 10,799 units. Earning 38% of the full-size market, the Transit was part of a Ford van lineup which accounted for 51% of the overall commercial van segment in September.
In fact, the Transit led a full-size sub-segment which posted real growth in September. Blame for the overall van category’s decline can be cast upon the smaller vans, including Ford’s own Transit Connect, the Chevrolet City Express, the little Chevrolet’s Nissan NV200 donor van, and the Ram ProMaster City.
Excluding the tweener-sized Mercedes-Benz Metris, small commercial van sales were down 29% in September 2016. Year-to-date, sales through the first three-quarters of 2016 are up just 9% in the small commercial van sector.
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Why, in a market blossoming with new small contenders, is growth among small commercial vans so limited compared with the more established full-size sector? You can blame fuel costs, perhaps, at least as part of an overall financial equation which favours larger vans. To the practical and pragmatic fleet buyer, the extra cost of the full-size van – both in terms of MSRPs and fuel – is clearly more than counteracted by the vast difference in capacity.
In the full-size sector, GM’s market share in September 2016 fell to 23.3% from 26.4% one year ago. At the same time, inventory of GM’s increasingly outdated full-size vans is ballooning. GM had a 103-day supply of Express vans heading into September, according to Automotive News, and a 218-day supply of Savanas. Ford, meanwhile, is more closely matching supply to (greater) demand. There are currently 75 days of Transit supply, much closer to the industry average of 61 days.
You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly U.S. auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. This table is sortable, so you can rank commercial vans any which way you like. Mobile users can now thumb across the table for full-width access. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.