Evolution of the White Van Man
Once one of the most feared groups of drivers on our roads, the White Van Man has undergone a transformation in recent years, rejecting his trademark white for a classier palette. But will this change perceptions of this misunderstood motorist?
Since the term was coined by Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy in 1997,
the White Van Man (WVM) has become a household name used to
classify a certain group of motorist. The WVM became a perceived
offender and victim of road rage epidemics across the country. But
the myth that all WVM could be stereotyped as aggressive, power mad
drivers was dispelled by the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC)
who proved there was more to this species of driver than meets the
eye. An appreciation of classical music, health food and even scuba
diving painted a very different picture of some WVM breaking the
greasy spoon image. In the 21 st Century, these slightly more
sophisticated WVM have sought to further distinguish themselves
from stereotypes by evolving into… Silver Van Man!
|White Vans||Silver Vans|
|Number of Vehicles in the UK||1,685,078||183,764|
|% of vehicles in the UK||4.58||0.5|
|% Automatic Transmission||0.21||2.9|
|% with Personalised Plates||4.13||9.4|
Silver Van Man (SVM) is a new breed of motorist who although
still appreciates the beauty and practically of a trustworthy van,
wishes to add a touch of class to his vehicle. In fact new DVLA
PARC statistics from automotive data specialists GMAP Consulting
show that silver, aluminium and black vans have increased in
popularity more than any other colour since 1990. In 1990 just 0.7%
of all UK vans were silver/aluminium, in 2006 that figure had shot
up to 12.5% making it the second most popular colour after
traditional white. Although the SVM has a long way to go before he
reaches the WVM's dominance of 57.3% of UK vans, the popularity of
white vans is on a steady decrease from its peak at the turn of the
The analysis also shows decreasing popularity of blue, green,
red, and yellow vans as sophisticated silver and black lead the way
in the reinvention of the van driver.
Not only is the WVM under threat of extinction from the SVM, he also faces growing competition from the Silver Van Woman (SVW). Women van drivers are more likely than male drivers to opt for a silver van with 9.62% of women choosing silver as opposed to 5.93% of men. In fact, women are proving themselves to be much more creative when it comes to colouring their vans. They are more likely than men to own vans in beige/buff, black, blue, bronze, cream/ivory, gold, green, grey, maroon, mauve/purple/violet, pink, and multicolours. Male van drivers do have their favourites though, being more likely than women to choose yellow, orange or red, as well as white. Both genders are equally likely to drive vans in brown or turquoise.
|Beige / Buff||0.55||1.47|
|Cream / Ivory||0.12||0.18|
|Mauve / Purple / Violet||0.08||0.12|
|Silver / Aluminium||5.93||9.62|
Although the popularity of white vans is decreasing in
comparison to other colours, it still remains favourite for the
majority of van drivers. This is particularly true for company
owned vans where 64.8% of drivers are WVM or WVW. If current trends
continue then silver is set to be the new white, but if SVM is
given the same stereotypes as the WVM of the past, perhaps a new
colour will move in as desirable and the cycle will continue until
there is no dominant colour and motorists will no longer have a
white van man scapegoat on which to blame their road rage.
This analysis has been performed by GMAP Consulting using current market statistics from anonymised DVLA PARC data.