Fleet News

Net shopping fails to spark van boom

AN explosion in delivery van sales as a result of the growth of home shopping via the Internet has failed to materialise, according to one of Britain's major commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management companies. Lex Transfleet, which operates more than 11,000 vehicles, said it had seen little or no evidence to support industry claims that the worldwide web was rapidly changing the nation's shopping habits.

Sales director Simon Haggart said claims that high street retailers were having to react to customer demand by introducing home delivery fleets were 'hype'. 'It is widely predicted that local distribution might become the key sector in commercial vehicles as home shopping grows through the Internet,' he said

'We are as keen as anyone to work with customers who embrace the benefits of the Internet, but at the moment we think all the fuss and hype is overrated. You'd need a very powerful crystal ball to tell you when this supposed van explosion is going to happen.'

Haggart added that the Internet shopping infrastructure was not yet sufficiently developed and that not enough people had access to the web to bring about a major change in high street stores and supermarket logistics. There was growth in light commercial vehicles, he said, but mainly as a result of fleets preparing for the possibility of restrictions on heavy goods vehicle usage in congested city centres.

Transfleet's views were backed by Arriva Automotive Solutions, which has Marks & Spencer as one of its major fleet clients. Managing director Len Clayton said: 'There is absolutely no evidence to show light commercial vehicle sales have grown as a result of home-based shopping.'

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