Friday, 29 October 2010

Volkswagen Van Gets Olympic Champion On The Road To 2012

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is supporting Bryony Shaw, the Team GB Olympic windsurfer, as she goes for gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Bryony, who won a bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics 2008, has been provided with a new Volkswagen Transporter Kombi to carry all her equipment as she competes at championships across Europe in preparation for 2012.

Bryony is Britain's number one female windsurfer and second in the RS:X world rankings. She has recently won silver in the 2010 World Cup Series and a proven medal winner over the last four years at the Weymouth World Cup event, which as the 2012 Olympic venue means she will be sailing on her home waters!

‘This is the perfect vehicle for my lifestyle and an extremely valuable tool in my bid for gold in 2012. The Transporter is great to drive, really comfortable over the long distances I have to travel, and has plenty of space to carry all my equipment – plus it looks cool,’ said Bryony.

The Volkswagen Transporter has evolved during its 60 years of production to become the most popular and iconic vans used by surfers and windsurfers, and in the tradition of surfer vans, Bryony’s has been customised with a roof spoiler, alloy wheels, tinted glass and bespoke, colourful graphics featuring her sport.

Her van is also fitted with a towbar, as she often needs to tow equipment, including a rib, and as it is a Kombi, it also has the added versatility of a second row of seats which fold forward to create a longer load length when needed.

David George, Head of Marketing for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support Bryony as she strives to achieve her target of gold in 2012. Bryony is a great ambassador because she’s so passionate about our brand, and just like many of our customers, uses the van to carry the tools of her trade.’

Video: Two Wheeled Van Driving

The star of this video is a man named Michele Stuntman. With a name like that it's no wonder he ended up in this line of work! Here he demonstrates the correct technique for two wheeled van driving.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Evolution of Van Man

by Elena Price

To mark the launch of the new version of the iconic Transporter van earlier this year, and celebrate how it has evolved during five generations and 60 years of production, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has commissioned research to take an in depth look at how the modern van driver’s interests and habits have evolved during this time.

The research sheds light on the stereotype of the modern van driver, sometimes known as ‘white van man’, and shows that today’s van drivers are now fitter, better read, healthier and more tech savvy than ever before. The study also found that an increasing number (over a third) are women.

Key to the research was how van drivers are perceived and how they perceive themselves. Over 53 per cent of the public feel that van drivers suffer from outdated and outmoded stereotypes of the 80s and 90s ‘white van driver’.

Over 65 per cent of the van drivers questioned take some form of frequent exercise, with over a third exercising more than three times a week. Keeping fit and healthy is also not a premise of just young van drivers with a large proportion (70 per cent) of van drivers over 55 exercising regularly. Staying healthy doesn’t just mean exercise either, as diet is important for the modern van driver with over 40 per cent passing on a pasty or packet of crisps in favour of an apple or a salad whilst on the road.

Whilst keeping fit is important to the modern van driver, a healthy and active mind is now also important. Over a third (37 per cent) regularly support the arts, enjoying great films, plays, and exhibitions - maybe even an opera or two.

Today’s van drivers are also keen to stay abreast of current affairs with over 80 per cent of respondents following the news agenda, with Scottish drivers being the biggest newshounds at 91 per cent. Whilst the modern driver is a great fan of traditional media, social online sites now play an increasingly important role in their lives – with over 60 per cent using a social network and nearly 20 per cent regularly tweeting .

Technology plays an integral part in both a van driver’s home and professional life with 72 per cent owning a laptop so they can now take their office on the road with them, while 57 per cent own a Smartphone or iPhone, and over half have already embraced HD TV.

David George, Head of Marketing, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles commented:

‘Our research looked to challenge some of the more outdated perceptions of modern van drivers and it certainly has. Van drivers, much like the iconic Volkswagen vans over the last 60 years, have most certainly kept up with the times.’

The research also looked at how ‘van proud’ modern drivers were with over a third taking pride in their vehicles and regularly cleaning them. Indeed younger drivers are the proudest with 62 per cent regularly taking to the chamois and polish to keep the dirt away, whilst across the country those in the East Midlands are the most proud of their van’s appearance.

Looking at van drivers across the country:

The fittest van drivers by region:
1. South West
2. North West
3. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Greater London
4. West Midlands
5. East of England

The biggest news fans
1. Scotland
2. North East
3. South East
4. West Midlands and South West
5. Yorkshireand North West

The most ‘van proud’ drivers
1. East Midlands
2. West Midlands
3. Greater London
4. South East and Scotland
5. North East

Friday, 15 October 2010

Automotive Markets Show Improvement in September

The automotive industry witnessed a slight revival through the September period, following the disappointing figures of August. The stronger sales in September are not expected to be a sign of long term rebound after the recession however, but instead more of a positive note in a long term slump.

Brian Johnson, an analyst at BarclayCapital said on Monday that an upturn in those sales at retailers would be coupled with lower sales to those who buy in bulk, such as car hire and van rental companies. However this would be a positive nod to automotive manufactures as individual sales yield a much higher profit margin then fleet sales to larger firms or companies that deal in car and van rental, leasing, or other fields.

“We continue to expect sales to remain around current levels for the remainder of 2010,” he wrote, adding that he is sticking with his forecast of 12 million in sales for next year.

September sales numbers were predicted to be in the area of 11.7 million cars, vans, and trucks, a small but still increased margin from 11.5 million in the August period.

Brian Johnson went on to say “This would make September the best retail month in two years except for August of 2009, which was artificially boosted by the government’s Cash for Clunkers rebates. The numbers will be far higher than last September, which was a depressed month because Cash for Clunkers drew out buyers who would have otherwise waited until September.”

Across the nation this week is when the automakers report their figures for the month and on a year to year ratio. These results show that although sales are down the average price of of vehicles per is on the rise which means a higher profit. It seems although less people are buying those who are value paying the price for a quality reliable car van or truck.

The general consensus over low sales volumes is that consumers are still shaken in the economy, and employment, debt, and financial security are still issues. They believe that there are a large number of people that are stepping back and waiting for prices to fall before buying.However, automotive manufactures are now reducing their overheads and still profiting even with a lower sales volume. Those waiting for lower prices might be waiting a long time.

Van News Roundup

Here are some Van and Commercial Vehicle related stories from around the internet this week:

30 Van's I'd Be Tempted to Get Into

30 Vans with crazy paint jobs including the Scooby Doo themed one below.

Mobil 1 Announces Britain's Best and Worst Roads.

"“The Mobil 1 Mission was a grueling test, travelling a long distance across a variety of terrain. But there were some real adrenaline-fuelled highlights. I experienced some phenomenal drives through scenery I didn’t even realise we had in this country.”"

Tyre safety campaign receives Highways Agency backing

"Organised by TyreSafe, tyre safety month will educate drivers about the importance and simplicity of checking tyre tread depth. With the Highways Agency’s endorsement, campaign materials will be distributed across the UK"

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Video: World's Most Amazing Limos.

This features the ultimate Limousine collection, From the 1960 VW Beetle to the Rolls Royce Phantom & Maybach 62S Stretch Limo's
Also Includes: Ferrari F40, F360 Lamborghini Diablo, Countach,
VW Passat, Beetle, Porcshe Cayenne,
BMW 760Li, Hummer H2, The worlds longest Limo at 100 FEET!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Who Let The White Van Man Out?

If you are queuing in traffic and somebody is waiting to pull out do you let them in front of you? Chances are, if you are a decent human being and not in a hurry, you would let them out. you know what it's like to have people drive past ignoring your plight and you know what is the right thing to do. You might however base your decision on whether to let someone out on what car they are driving.

A recent survey has shown that people are least likely to let out from junctions those driving a white van. Why is it that people in commercial vehicles are our least favorite road users? Is a man driving a used van less deserving of the 'after you' hand wave? Perhaps it is because we assume that these people are being paid to drive rather than spending their leisure time trying to get somewhere?

Those driving Lorries, BMWs, Land Rovers and sports cars were also near the bottom of the list. Those most likely to get let out were Peugeot 207 and Vauxhall Astra drivers and good looking drivers in any vehicle. I wonder if good looking women in white vans get let out at junctions?