Ford vans have hit the number one reliability slot in a yearly survey carried out as part of the FN50, compiled by industry publication Fleet News. Mercedes-Benz was in second place.
The blue oval’s rise to victory has been gradual, with it accommodating third position in the league table last year. Ford last topped the list in 2016.
Britain’s biggest van manufacturer has been through a significant overhaul over the past two years as it readies itself for a new era of electric vehicles (EVs).
Ford relaunched its commercial vehicle division in 2021 under the name Ford Pro and has since introduced a suite of new services to support its customers beyond simply supplying vehicles. These include connected uptime management systems that seek to proactively address vehicle issues to prevent breakdowns.
The Ford Transit has leapt to third place in the most reliable van index, reflecting the changes. Further boosting Ford’s score is the addition of the compact Transit Connect into seventh place, after not ranking last year. The best-selling Transit Custom also moved up the table, snatching ninth place.
Fleet News asked leasing companies to consider the brands and vans they had on fleet over the previous 12 months and list the most reliable ones based on the average number of days off the road with unplanned mechanical problems (but not including punctures).
Previous reliability champion Mercedes-Benz may have slipped into second position this year but its flagship Sprinter model remains the UK’s most reliable light commercial vehicle overall.
A favourite among supermarket delivery fleets, the Sprinter’s reliability performance has been unrelenting – making it an undefeated champion in the sector. The Mercedes-Benz Vito fared less well, dropping six places to 10th. Beneath Mercedes sits Volkswagen. The German brand has tussled with Mercedes for the number one position for the last five years, but slips into third this year.
Like the Sprinter, the VW Transporter was able to retain its position from 2022, ranking second. While the vehicle nears the end of its life, it remains both a strong seller and a dependable workhorse.
The next generation Transporter is due to launch in 2024 and has been co-developed with Ford, as part of a collaboration agreement between the two giants. Ford is leading the project and both vehicles will use the same powertrains. Less successful this year is the Volkswagen Crafter, a key rival to the Sprinter. It drops out of the Top 15 altogether. The Caddy, meanwhile, was replaced in 2021 with an all-new model.