Why Are Vans So Expensive?


This article is a written account of my Nissan NV200 camper van conversion video series. Watch the video on YouTube (above) and be sure to give my channel a subscribe, thanks!

This article contains affiliate links to relevant products I have used in my van build. By buying through these links, I receive a small percentage of the sale which helps my support and grow my website, so I can create more content in the future. Thank you for your support.

You don’t have to be a van owner, or even be interested in them, to know that prices of vans have skyrocketed recently. 

Their ever increasing price tag regularly makes the news and proves a source of frustration for businesses and individuals alike who have dreamed of owning one, but can’t 

So why is buying a van becoming so expensive? Let’s find out….

The Pandemic

The main factor, and one which most other reasons point back to is, of course, the global pandemic. Grinding the world to a halt, it created a huge amount of change in a very small space of time, and made all of us re-evaluate how we live our lives in some way, and this has definitely hit the van and car markets.

But that’s not to say that vans have been the only area affected by the pandemic. All across industry prices are rising. From DIY supplies to fuel, from tech to supermarket shelves, there’s definitely been a huge strain put on suppliers.

Global disruption

With workers downing tools for lockdowns and quarantines, it was inevitable that the effects of this would ricochet around the world.

One of the most notable areas is computer chips. Most vehicles these days have some form of computer on board, and more and more vehicles are electric and rely on these too. There’s a well documented shortage of these chips, in part due to disruption to the workforce during the pandemic and this, being months behind their production schedules, has led to the downgrading of vehicle specifications or even pausing manufacturing altogether until chip production catches up.

How does this affect vans? Well, in short, less vans are able to be made, making them more difficult to source and buy, both for business fleets or individually, and that, in turn, puts pressure on van market – particularly the second hand one – leading to higher prices which the consumer pays the bill for.

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Vans are desirable

Vans have become seriously desirable vehicles to own – perhaps more so now than ever. They are very versatile, usually reliable vehicles, capable of coping with high mileage; whether that’s providing a holiday for a family, transporting heavy goods around the country, or for any number of purposes in between.

From the covid point of view, people have suddenly found time on their hands to convert vans in lockdown, myself included. I had started my conversion before the pandemic struck, however lockdown provided a great opportunity to work on the van. Likewise, many people bought vans to convert during this down time, as it might not have been so possible around usual work hours. As life reopened gradually, there was also the question of holidays, and travel was one of the last areas to get back to normal, so having a van which can provide a self-contained, more-isolated, safer holiday, whilst exploring your own country by road, was the most that many people could get for a holiday. Also, staycationing in a van in remote locations or campsites is still cheaper than a hotel, and has been an important consideration for many given the financial uncertainty which has followed covid.

But in addition to all of this, a little something called #vanlife has reared its head in recent years and, regardless of where you fall on the topic, it’s definitely a contributing factor into the increased demand for vans. Even pre-pandemic, house prices have been rising to a level where many people – particularly from younger generations – are unable to get on the property ladder, or are priced out of their local area, and so look to vans as an alternate way of putting a roof over their heads. And who can blame them – it looks more appealing, given the relative cheapness of vans compared to a house, as well as the perceived increase in quality of life and the lifestyle perpetuated on social media.

A final point is that covid has made people reassess their lifestyles, with a notable pattern of people leaving cities for the country, and vans provide a catalyst for this, whether its enabling people to explore their local area at the weekend or encouraging people to travel more and live a freer life, less dictated by their jobs and other responsibilities.

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Delivery drivers

The world has gone online; at least it seems that way. With stay-at-home orders in place in many countries, many industries which were still allowed to work had to resort to providing their services by home delivery. Almost overnight restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and many other outlets adapted to keep their businesses alive, and none of this would have been possible without vans. Online food shopping, spontaneous pandemic purchases and equipment for new hobbies all had to be delivered to people’s homes, and if vans are being snapped up by businesses and fewer of them are being made due to months of shortages on parts, demand increases, allowing sellers to charge a higher price.

In a time where many peoples’ jobs were put on pause, deliveries was one job area that saw growth, with the possibility of getting work or a bit of extra money as a courier or delivery driver yet again cemented vans as an integral part of this new way of life.

Another factor is that if businesses that usually operate with vans are being conservative financially, and with long waits for new vans off the production line, they don’t want to renew their fleets with new models, and this squeezes the used van market, meaning less vans are available for others, so people will be happy to pay more to get what they want.

The Future

As with most things in life, what goes up must come down, and this will most likely be the case for the van and car markets, but for now prices seem set to continue climbing, much to the frustration of prospective van owners, but also current van owners – after all, if van prices go up, then that can push up the price of parts too, leaving all of our pockets a little lighter.

So what do you think? What have I missed? Leave a comment below and let me know what other reasons there are for vans being so expensive.

If you want to see more of my camper van build in action, please CLICK HERE.

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