Fleet News

A whole new window of opportunity opens up

'AT the recent launch of new Volkswagen Caddy Life, I began thinking about this growing market – effectively, small people carriers that also double as working vehicles, essentially based on vans.

If you consider the values recorded in both Red Book and Black Book it soon becomes apparent that choosing a version with windows pays off financially as well as in terms of versatility.

The Volkswagen Caddy Life will be available with five seats as standard and seven-seats as an option, which is unique in the mini-MPV market. It drives like a car and does not look out of place under any circumstances and should have no problems repeating its success on the used market – especially the seven-seat variant. Volkswagen's own projections are for 300 sales this year, with an increase in 2005. Overall, we are currently looking at a total market for this vehicle type of 20,000 van-based cars.

This includes Fiat's contribution of 2,482 Doblo MPVs – based on the Doblo van – sold last year, a figure which is projected to rise to about 3,000 this year. Clearly, this is a growing market. In 2003 the number of windowed versions sold were: Kangoo – 3,127, Berlingo – 9,657 and Partner – 3,791.

This adds up to a total of 16,575 vans sold with windows and rear seats, and this number is up on 2002.

To see the impact that windows have on values we can compare the van and car versions. Taking Red Book values, on 2001 Y, clean, with 60,000 miles we see Renault Kangoo 655D at £2,650 (average £2,325), Citroen Berlingo 600D at £2,800 (average £2,450) and Peugeot Partner 600L worth £2,900 (average £2,525).

For Black Book windowed versions with the same criteria, the Renault Kangoo 1.9 D Authentique is valued at £3,675, Citroen Berlingo 1.9 D Forte at £3,750 and Peugeot Partner 1.9 D coming in at £3,550.

All these vehicles have a similar cost new, but don't forget, vans also have VAT to be added. Interestingly, while cars have become cheaper in real terms over recent years, vans are looking increasingly expensive. Compare a Ford Fiesta 1.3 Finesse car at £8,040 with a Fiesta 1.3 Van at £8,040 plus VAT – adding up to £9,400. Or take a Fiat Punto 1.3 multijet diesel car, costing £8,647, compared with the van version, which adds up to £9,276 when VAT is added.

But regardless of the new and used price benefits of choosing a windowed and seated van, these vehicles exemplify the achievement of the industry in recent years in identifying opportunities to meet different needs in the one vehicle.

These car-style vans are set for ongoing success on the used market and it is difficult to imagine something more suitable for the small business user who needs to carry goods plus a family.

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