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  • August 2015 Van Sales: Ford Transit Dominating Market

August 2015 Van Sales: Ford Transit Dominating Market

GM Fullsize Van Sales Down Double Digits, ProMaster Up

Sep 2, 2015
They’re not the sexiest or most popular vehicles on the market, but there’s no denying the utilitarian usefulness of vans. The quintessential box on wheels, they’re beloved by everyone from livery and taxi fleets, moms of multiples, carpinters, contractors, plumbers, and electricians. What they lack in style and sexiness, they more than make up for in no-nonsense utility. The van market, which has traditionally been dominated by the domestic brands, suddenly has a cornucopia of different options from different automakers in all shapes and sizes.
In its first year on the U.S. market, the Ford Transit is positively crushing the competition, with sales up a massive 833.8 percent compared to August of last year, when the van was barely trickling into showrooms. Ford’s traditional rival, the Chevrolet Express, posted a respectable Second Place in the sales standings, but a 45.6 percent in year-over-year sales is telling, indicating many buyers may be defecting to GM for the utility and configurability of the Transit. While posting more modest sales numbers, the Ram ProMaster nonetheless saw 91 percent year-over-year growth for August. Ford is also dominating the compact van space, with the Transit Connect selling 3,995 units, more than all of its competitors -- Nissan NV, Chevrolet City Express, and ProMaster City -- combined.
1) Ford Transit – 10,263, Up 833.8 Percent
Some of the old-timey domestic van fans say there’s still a market for the “traditional” American van, but the sales trends show otherwise. The tall Euro-style Transit is seeing explosive sales growth, likely due to its dozens of available configurations for almost every conceivable application.
Photo 2/12   |   2015 Ford Transit Swb White
2) Chevrolet Express – 5,522, Down 45.6 Percent
The Express is second to the Transit in overall sales, but the sales trajectory is not encouraging. Compared to the Transit’s triple-digit year-over-year August gain, the Express is down more than 45 percent. In its favor, at least to some buyers, is the availability of V-8 engines and on 3500 models, a 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8. However, it appears the number of buyers that see those attributes as “must haves” is shrinking.
Photo 3/12   |   2014 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Front View
3) Ford E-Series – 3,823, Down 43 Percent
Despite the availability of the Transit, the old-timer E-Series is still sticking around for a few more years, due to the popularity of the cutaway and bare chassis configurations, which is just about the only way the E-Series is surviving.
Photo 4/12   |   2015 Ford E 450 Four Winds Motorhome
4) Ford Transit Connect – 3,995, Up 1.8 Percent
The Transit Connect was up a modest 1.8 Percent for August, but it still owns its segment, with sales greater than all three of its competitors combined. While it doesn’t offer the mind-boggling array of configurations of the fullsize Transit, the Transit Connect offers two wheelbases, two engines, CNG/LPG upfit capability, and cargo or passenger options.
Photo 5/12   |   2014 Ford Transit Connect Van Front View 07
5) Ram ProMaster – 3,175, Up 91 Percent
It may have a face that only a mother could love, but the Ram ProMaster has found quite a few fans among fleets for its box-that-it-came-in utility. In our experience, the combination of the high seating position and the zippy Pentastar V-6 make the ProMaster a hoot to drive, as well.
Photo 6/12   |   2014 Ram ProMaster Front Three Quarters Jobsite
6) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – 2,260, Up 20.2 Percent
Once the standard bearer in the tall-van segment, the Sprinter has been quickly eclipsed sales-wise by the Transit. However, the Sprinter is still a known and proven commodity, and for many buyers, worth the substantial price premium Mercedes asks for it. Unlike the Transit, which offers the choice of three different engines, the Sprinter only offers two engines, both diesels.
Photo 7/12   |   2014 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Front Three Quarters Load
7) Nissan NV200 – 1,601, Up 30.9 Percent
The Nissan NV200 ironically hews to the Henry Ford model of configurability by saying, “You can have any configuration you want, as long as it’s a cargo van.” The NV200 is offered with a single powertrain choice, a single wheelbase, and in the U.S. market, is only offered as a cargo van. However, the charm is in its simplicity, and sales are up a respectable 30.9 percent for August.
Photo 8/12   |   2014 Nissan NV200 Three Quarters View
8) Nissan NV – 1,389, Up 13.2 Percent
The fullsize Nissan NV ironically reminds us most of the Ford E-Series in that it’s offered in both basic cargo configuration, as well as a passenger van, with a choice of V-6 or V-8 power. Its long, truck-like nose and availability of a high-roof option split the difference between the Euro-style tall vans and the more traditional domestic offerings.
Photo 9/12   |   2014 Nissan NV Drivers Three Quarters View
9) Chevrolet City Express – 1,092
A rebadged Nissan NV200, the City Express gave Chevrolet a quick solution to offering something to compete with the popular Transit Connect. However, like the Nissan, the City Express is only offered in a cargo configuration, compared to the availability of cargo or passenger models for the Ford.
Photo 10/12   |   2015 Chevrolet City Express Front Three Quarter
10) Ram ProMaster City – 889
The Fiat Doblo-based ProMaster City is such a newcomer to the market that there’s no comparable sales to August of last year. The ProMaster City somewhat splits the difference between the Transit Connect and NV200 by offering a second row of seats, making for a five-passenger model with a generous cargo area, as well as a full-cargo configuration.
Photo 11/12   |   2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Front Three Quarters
11) GMC Savana – 744, Down 61.3 Percent
The Savana languishes near the bottom of the list, the victim of GMC’s corporate re-imaging as more of a premium consumer brand, largely ceding the commercial vehicle market to Chevrolet, as well as the availability of newer, more practical competitors such as the Transit. If sales continue their downward slide, it’s conceivable the Savana could be dropped altogether, leaving GM’s fullsize van sales to Chevy alone.
Photo 12/12   |   2014 GMC Savana Three Quarters View 2

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