Consistent van market growth ends in June

Following 17th consecutive months of sales growth for the new light van market, LCV registrations fell by a rather worrying 5% in June


Following 17th consecutive months of sales growth for the new light van market, LCV registrations fell by a rather worrying 5% in June.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), just over 33,000 new LCVs arrived on British roads last month, which is around 1,600 less registrations than the same month last year.

The SMMT remains upbeat, citing that the slightly larger June 2023 sales results were artificially inflated by “pent-up” LCV demand following the Covid-19 pandemic and mentions that, despite the 5% drop, the light van sector has recorded its best first six months since 2021.

Pickup and 4×4 sales fell by 18% and 20% respectively, while large vans (between two-and-a-half and three-an-a-half tonnes) – which make up the large majority of new van sales – fell by 8% in June. The surge in small van registrations (under two tonnes) continued, up 59% year-on-year.

Source: SMMT

BEV demand declines for third month this year

While the LCV market shrank by a concerning 5% last month, June’s battery-electric vehicle (BEV) registration totals are considerably more depressing when you consider the targets set for the BEV market at the start of the year.

BEV sales fell by 17% year-on-year last month, and while this result isn’t as serious as March’s rather disastrous 42% electric van sales drop, these results are forming a pattern of decreasing demand for BEVs.

The government’s Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme is targeting a BEV market share of 10% for each brand by the end of 2024. However, electric vans still only account for just under 5% of the overall new LCV sales, and this market share is currently 0.6% lower than the BEV market share at the end of 2023.

Around 1,500 new electric vans were registered last month, and the annual registration total now stands at around 8,300 battery-powered models. This time last year, BEV sales had already surpassed 8,800 models. Diesel sales account for a huge 93% of the market – still comfortably dwarfing demand for electric vans.

So, why is the BEV market not growing like the electric car market? With each manufacturer now mandated to achieve a minimum proportion of zero-emission registrations every year, this has been a worrying first half of the year for the BEV sector. The SMMT points to declining demand, and argues that increasing the rollout of charging stations – including van-specific charging infrastructure – will increase consumer BEV interest.

Good month, bad month

Many of the LCV manufacturers will be rather disappointed with their sales performance last month.

Holding the biggest market share, Ford’s sales fell by 1% year-on-year, after several months of relative stagnation. The likes of Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Iveco and Maxus increased their registration numbers by 10% or over in May year-on-year.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Citroën, Peugeot and Toyota. All of these brands underachieved compared to the overall market by at least 10% (and in some cases, by a lot more than that).

Transit Custom dominates new LCV interest

One LCV model dominated the sales charts in 2023, and the same van has a comfortable lead once again this year. Half way through 2024, the Ford Transit Custom continues to hold first place in the annual sales race with a rather ridiculous 13,000 more sales than its closest competitor, the Vauxhall Vivaro.

Its larger Transit sibling remains in second place, and the Ford Ranger – the UK’s most popular pickup model by a country mile, sits in third.

The race for the ‘best-of-the-rest’ title is close outside of the top three, with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overtaking the Vauxhall Vivaro to take fourth in the annual sales race while the Volkswagen Transporter holds on to sixth. The Renault Trafic, Citroën Berlingo, Ford Transit Connect and Vauxhall Combo complete the annual sales standings.

Source: SMMT
Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Van Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in van-buying need with independent and impartial advice.

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