April saw a second month of growth for new LCV registrations this year, although the year-to-date-market is still slightly down on the first four months of last year.
The overall new LCV market was up about 4% on last April, with 23,501 new vehicles registered.
However, dealers and manufacturers won’t be breaking out the good champagne just yet, as April 2017 was a very poor month – down about 19% on the year before. So really it has been a small improvement on a significant low point.
Looking at the detailed breakdown of the figures, it was a solid month for every category except pick-up trucks. All van categories, from less than 2.0m tonnes up to 6.0 tonnes, showed improvement. 4x4s, which admittedly are the smallest and most variable segment of the industry, showed a second consecutive month of spectacular growth over last year’s negligible results.
Downturn for pick-ups
It’s the first downturn in the surging pick-up market in a long time, with some 500 fewer trucks being registered in April compared to 12 months ago. This time last year, pick-ups were the only bright spot on a fairly miserable sales ledge for the LCV market.
Manufacturers are unlikely to be too concerned at one poor month of pick-up results. The trend is still one of strong growth, and there is an ever-increasing number of players in this segment that will drive continued growth.
The best-selling LCV of the last few years is pretty much gone. A few examples of the outgoing Ford Transit Custom are still kicking around Ford dealers, but there’s not many left. So, good news for everyone else, right?
Well, no. Unfortunately for every other van manufacturer, the new Ford Transit Custom is arriving in dealerships and seamlessly taking over the reign of its predecessor. If you haven’t yet read Andrew’s review of the facelifted Transit Custom, then spoiler alert: he doesn’t think Ford’s 50-odd year dominance of the van market will end anytime soon.
There weren’t many surprises among the best-selling LCVs in April. The Vauxhall Vivaro slid out of the top ten, which will be disappointing given that owners PSA Group have just announced investment in the Luton factory. In its place was the Peugeot Boxer large van. Other than that, not a lot to report.