Van statistics

How many vans are there in the UK?

Vans are a popular choice for individual or corporate use when transporting goods. They make up a significant portion of all vehicle use in the UK and they legally require third party insurance to cover any damage to other parties in an accident. Check out our van insurance guide to discover which type of cover will suit your situation best. And for everything else, we’ve collected all the latest facts about van use in the UK right here.

Quick facts

  • There are 4.1 million licensed vans in the UK.
  • 42% of vans are owned by individuals
  • Vans drove a total of 55.5 billion miles throughout the UK in 2019.
  • The Ford Transit Custom is the UK’s bestselling van, with 34,690 sold in 2019

Van registration in the UK 2011-2018

In 2018, van registration numbers were the lowest they’ve been in three years, decreasing by 5,000 registrations from 2017 to 2018. However, from 2011 to 2018, the number of registrations has increased overall by 37%.

Year Number of registered vans
2011 260,000
2012 240,000
2013 270,000
2014 322,000
2015 372,000
2016 376,000
2017 362,000
2018 357,000

Best selling vans in 2019

The most popular vans by number of vans sold were calculated from January to August 2019. By far the most popular model is the Ford Transit Custom, with 34,690 sold in this eight-month period. The next most popular model, the Ford Transit, has half as many vans sold.

Sales position Model Numbers sold
1 Ford Transit Custom 34,690
2 Ford Transit 17,490
3 Mercedes Sprinter 14,440
4 VW Transporter 11,940
5 Ford Ranger 9,580
6 Peugeot Partner 9,350
7 Ford Transit Connect 8,790
8 Citroen Berlingo 8,770
9 Vauxhall Vivaro 7,740
10 Vauxhall Combo 7,340

The distribution of ultra-low-emission vans around the UK in Q4 2018

The map below shows the distribution of licensed ultra-low-emission vans around the UK, which were not eligible for a government grant. The only vehicles that are eligible for a government grant are electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Ultra-low-emission vehicles were most popular in the South East in Q4 2018 and least popular in Northern Ireland.

The number of vehicle miles per type of vehicle for the year ending March 2019

With almost 80% of all vehicle miles attributed to cars and taxis, these types of vehicles contributed the most to the total number of vehicle miles. Vans, on the other hand, only contributed 15% of all vehicle miles.

Vehicle type Vehicle miles
Cars and taxis 256bn miles
Light Commercial Vehicles (Vans) 50.9bn miles
Heavy Goods Vehicles (Lorries) 17bn miles

The distribution of van miles based on type of road in 2018

The 51 billion miles covered by vans in 2018 resulted from a 0.9% growth in miles from the previous year – the largest percentage of growth of any motor vehicle type. In the chart below, these 51 billion miles are distributed based on the different types of roads the vans used.

Types of roads Number of van miles
Motorways 10.6bn
Rural 'A' roads 15.6bn
Rural minor roads 8.1bn
Urban 'A' roads 6.7bn
Urban minor roads 10bn
Rural “A” roads make up 31% of all the miles covered, making it the most popular type of road for van drivers to use. At 21% usage, motorways are the next most popular road type, closely followed by urban minor roads, at 20%. Therefore, it is safe to assume that van drivers are more likely to drive on main roads than rural minor roads.

Average van insurance price by cover type in 2018

The average cost of van insurance by insurance type for 2018 is shown below. Surprisingly, this data shows that the higher the level of cover, the cheaper the insurance is. Namely, comprehensive van cover is £1,719 – only half the cost of the £3,444 third party cover. And with a comprehensive plan covering you for damage to your own and other people’s vehicles, according to this research, it offers the best value for money.

Type of insurance Average cost
Third Party £3,444
Third Party, Fire and Theft £3.379
Comprehensive £1,719


Office for National Statistics
Freight Transport Association (UK)

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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