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Ford: Online shopping boosts business van usage, drives up UK economy

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The growth of online shopping has caused the number of businesses dependent on vans to soar.

A study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by Ford to celebrate the 50th year of the Transit, shows how van-dependent businesses contributed £120 billion to the UK economy last year – a similar amount to the entire Swiss economy, says Motoring Research.

This figure represents a rise of 16% on 2010. And the key driver in the demand for commercial vehicles is the shift to online shopping.

"As our economy changes and evolves – with shifts to online shopping for example – demand for Transit is only rising," commented Ford of Europe chief operating officer Barb Samardzich.

People don't realise just how important vans are for the overall economy, she added.

Ford Transit van at auctionFord van sales have risen 27% on last year. A quarter of all commercial vehicles sold in Britain are Transits. A total of 2.5 million are registered in the UK, and it has been the best-selling van every year since its introduction, says Motoring Research.

In addition, the economic benefits of van usage extend to the tax contribution to public finances. According to the CEBR researchers, van drivers in the UK clocked up 64 billion miles in 2014, a rise of 20% on 2008. Their contribution to the UK economy in fuel duty came to a pretty impressive £5 billion.

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