Research from Renault has also shown companies increasingly fitting ABS brakes or airbags.
Since the previous study was completed in 1999, Renault has also found that 60% of van drivers have higher expectations of their vans than five years ago. They expect them to be better designed, offer more comfort and higher levels of equipment.
As well as higher specification, the days of white van man might also be numbered, the research revealed. Figures indicate a 150% increase in alternative coloured vans being sold to fleets over the past five years.
However, the increase in different coloured fleet sales is overshadowed by the growth among smaller players, where sales of alternative colours have gone up 300%. The research was carried out with the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) and revealed that sales of silver paint on the Renault Trafic have grown by 40% in the past two years, from 17% of sales in 2001 to 24% in 2003.
Peter Marsh, research director at the SIRC, said: 'Our research has shown that the white van man has evolved rapidly in the past five years.
While the stereotype of the white van man on the road was largely misplaced, it is now even more redundant. Silver van man has both civility and aspirations and increasingly his choice of van and its refinements reflects these characteristics.'