According to a major survey of van fleet operators, customer satisfaction has clear leaders in Mercedes-Benz and Fiat, as they average the best score from multiple different assessments as part of the UK Fleet Van Market Report.
The UK has 396,000 businesses operating light commercial vehicles, with a combined fleet of 2,302,000 vans. Only 3% of companies operate more than 25 LCVs, but this still accounts for 1,335,000 vehicles, or 58% of the parc. Small businesses account for a high proportion of van sales, with 311,000 companies running five or fewer vans, equating to a total parc of 808,000 LCVs.
The UK Fleet Van Market Report 2018, completed by Sewells Research & Insight. Overall they questioned 1,088 fleet decision makers responsible for running light commercial vehicle fleets that range from a handful of vans to several thousand.
The respondents were asked to assess 13 manufacturers in 33 different areas of cost effectiveness, vehicle performance and their aftersales support teams.
The full report can be purchased here. But for now, the summary only shows results in five key areas: availability of conversion options, availability of specific fuel type, build quality, reliability and proximity of servicing facilities.
Out of all 33 categories, Fiat took home 14 top scores with Mercedes-Benz closely following with 13 top scores meaning Fiat achieved the highest percentage of ‘very satisfied’ customers out of the possible 13 manufacturers which may surprise some people.
Citroen and Fiat topped ‘proximity of servicing facility’ category with Fiat also topping or coming close to the top in several other categories, but market leader Ford managed only 1 top score out of 33 different categories highlighting it’s need for improvements in some areas. But Volkswagen was a big shock coming away with 0 top scores, not even getting into the top 3 in any of the 33 categories. But the new Crafter and dedicated aftersales teams introduced for 2018 should boost results.
Based on the five categories in the table above, Mercedes-Benz sat atop the table with top scores for both reliability and build quality. Fiat led the way for conversion options and (along with Citroën) proximity of service facilities.
Toyota was very consistent across the five categories to end up with the third-best result, just ahead of sister brands Peugeot and Citroën. Interestingly, there was quite some variation in individual scores for the two PSA brands in areas like conversion options and servicing facilities, even though the vans are essentially identical in almost every way. This suggests that the two brands have quite different perceptions in the marketplace.
Despite outselling everyone else for approximately 200 years now, Ford’s results were right on the market average in most of the five metrics below. Just behind were Volkswagen and Vauxhall, both let down by poor build quality and servicing scores.