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7 fév 24

LCV Series: who can deliver the goods?

With a projected share of 40% by 2030, the global penetration of ZEVs will be highest in the LCV category. This particular shift and rising competition from new entrants force legacy car makers to invest in new generation lineups, tie up with partners and reshape their ambitions.  

Light commercial vehicles are transforming from a niche to an integral and full-fledged business entity for automotive OEMs. Like the trend with passenger cars, legacy automakers need to pace up their interests, as a new Tesla might disrupt their share and potential growth. Electrification is a reset for the playing field. 

If you want to kow more about the LCV market sales, its latest trends and the way to ensure a Sustainable and Efficient LCV Fleet, join the LCV Expert Day 2024 in Brussels at the 13th of March. You can reasily register here.

The LCV market grows steadily in Europe (roughly 4% continuously per annum), but a further increase is expected from booming last-mile delivery businesses and the growth curve of e-shopping (7% per year). The sprouting of a recreational van share in the private market also supports the trend.    

On their path to the future, some OEMs already have a headstart. Let's take a closr look at the main-stage players. 

STELLANTIS

Though leading in Europe with an LCV share of more than 30%, Stellantis chases Ford into becoming the global market leader under its 'Van Offensive'. Combining the brands Citroën, Fiat, Opel and Peugeot (and RAM overseas), the group witnessed a growth of 15% in 2023 year-on-year. 

With the entire range available as BEVs (EU share of 38% in 2023), and in-house production of both mid-size and large vans on hydrogen, it offers the largest selection of zero-emission options on the LCV market.

Rebranding its commercial division as the umbrella business Pro One last year, the group switched to a 100% connected and completely revised lineup while preparing second-generation electrification, a charging ecosystem and upgraded telematics service.

Since 2012, Stellantis has built Toyota's van family in Europe, a successful partnership encompassing small, medium and large vans. 

FORD

With a market share of around 14%, the Transit Custom is Europe's best-sold one-tonne LCV. All models combined, the market share is around 15% in Europe, and as a single brand, Ford leads the field. 

The commercial division Pro, overhauled three years ago, produces a yearly revenue growth of around 20% (from the company's financial results) and accounts for EBIT earnings of $2.4 million, around 20% of total profits.

Boosting that profitability is an alliance with Volkswagen, with the latter responsible for the car maker's city vans and Ford supplying the medium-sized product.   

MERCEDES

Unlike the trucks, Mercedes Vans is a fully integrated business unit accounting for annual sales of around 450,000 units - one-fifth of the automaker's light vehicle output. With a market share of 6.6%, the Sprinter is Europe's second-best-selling van, while the division grows by roughly 8% annually, according to the latest financial results available (fiscal year 2022). 

Featuring a fully electric variant in every class, the German van maker aims to lift the current 15% share of zero-emission vans to 20% in 2026 and 50% in 2030. 

With the eSprinter, Mercedes has launched its purpose-built VAN.EA architecture focused on carbon-neutral production. The industrial alliances with Renault and Rivian are shelved. 

VOLKSWAGEN

Continuing its growth path, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles delivered 318,100 vehicles in the EU during 2023, a solid increase of 24.6% year-on-year. The division represents almost 8.5% of the brand's sales.

Registrations of electric VW vans quadrupled to 29,300 last year, or 9.2% of total sales, while the Transporter is Europe's sixth highest-selling model. The company has a strategic alliance with Ford (see above).

RENAULT

Risen by almost 20% in 2023 (326,686 units), Renault's commercial division accounts for just under a quarter of the group's light vehicle sales (without Dacia): 23%. With the new Trafic, the brand has a range-beater in the EV class, while it is rolling out a hydrogen alternative with HYVIA this year.  

Also launching in 2024 is a new eLCV company project named Flexis, a 50-50 joint venture with Volvo Group (not cars) to upgrade the current range and pool resources. Each partner invests € 300 million to develop a software-defined platform (SDV).

HYUNDAI

Light commercial vehicles are currently a niche for the Hyundai group, publishing no proprietary sales figures for the branch. It offers a van version of the i20 in Europe and the H350 in the one-tonne category.
  
But following hydrogen concepts and a recently announced cooperation with Italian LCV specialist Iveco, the Korean group isn't shying away from an ambitious future. The latest addition to Iveco's lineup will debut the new global all-electric eLCV architecture from Hyundai, a dedicated platform spanning a gross vehicle weight of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes.  

Sister brand Kia's focal point is second generation eLCVs, built around the connected and flexible Platform Beyond Vehicles (PBVs). The manufacturer is readying a factory for 150,000 units per year as of mid-2025, worth an investment of $758 million. These vans can change formats from panel to pick-up by benefitting from magnetic swap technology.

The Korean group also invested $110 million in ailing startup Arrival. 

Image Source: Stellantis

Join our learning session on commercial fleets! There’s still time to register for our LCV Expert Day in Brussels at the 13th of March. You can register here.


 

Authored by: Piet Andries