Page 40 - Australasian Paint & Panel Magazine Sep-Oct 2020
P. 40

Business & Technology • Industry Insight
                                    PAINT&PANEL SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2020
specific to the UK, and yet when you hear him described, no mat- ter where you live, you’ll recog-
nise the work of White Van Man. And you will surely have noticed that there are more of him on our roads now
than ever before.
He’s the guy who spends possibly too
many hours a day trapped in the interior of a white van, usually delivering things but possibly just carrying the tools of his trade, yet always moving at high speed and with extreme aggression.
White Van Man will cut you off in traffic, attempt to steal your parking space while you’re still in it, drop a parcel off at your front door, knock and then run. He’s also convinced he can hose you off the lights, even if you’re in a Porsche.
His tool of trade is often the Ford Tran- sit - a brand of van so popular and ubiq- uitous that more than 9 million of them
have been sold worldwide - but he seems to believe it is actually a racing car in a cunning disguise.
Top Gear ran various Man With a Van challenges, and even set a lap time around the famous Nurburgring race circuit in a Ford Transit.
The way many of these vans are driv- en means they are going to need re- pairs, often, and that spells opportunity in oversized letters for the collision re- pair market.
That word, ‘oversized’, is the key, however, according to Jason Hornby of Callaghan Col- lision Centre in Sydney. Just over 12 months ago − so just before the real explosion in having everything home delivered, thanks to Covid 19 - Hornby decided that vans, and being able to repair them, represented a big opportunity for growth. And that meant his business had to grow - physically.
“In our old place, we could do cars, and even SUVs, but we couldn’t do these vans, I didn’t have a big enough booth or enough room to turn big vans around, so we’ve moved and put in an extended booth, with a high roof, so we can do the Volkswagen Transporters and the Transit vans,” he explains.
“It’s a huge growth area, and it’s only going to get bigger - just look at things like Amazon; someone has to deliver all that stuff, and you’ve got Australia Post, and StarTrack, all that.
“And vans are where the growth is, not trucks. My theo- ry is, if you’re a business, why would you want to pay the up- front cost of a truck, and then pay a guy with a truck licence, when you can just get a van and two guys with a normal li- cence and still be able to move the same amount of stuff?
"That’s why I believe there's just a huge market for vans, and I don’t think it’s something a lot of people in our industry have thought about.
“And you have to ask yourself, if you start getting vans in, are you going to have the room, because these things are up to 2.7m tall, and more than 7m long.”
Hornby also invested in a Spanesi 106 EX realignment system, which is designed to fit a Ford Transit, and an extended aluminium room for his new premises, in Miranda.
While most vans currently on sale - in a market dominated by brands like Mer- cedes-Benz, Ford, VW, Peugeot and Re- nault - don’t feature a lot of aluminium construction at present, Hornby believes it’s something that will have to happen.
“It’s starting to come, but it’s just a matter of time so that’s why we’re ready, because they’re going to have to start focusing on power-to-weight ratios, to get their fuel- economy figures down,” he says.

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