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 Over 53 per cent of the public feel that van drivers suffer from outdated and outmoded stereotypes of the 80s and 90s ‘white van driver’.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‘Our research looked to challenge some of the more outdated perceptions of modern van drivers and it certainly has.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
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