LCV market continues steady sales decline in April

April 2021 saw the highest monthly registrations since records began, but this April's sales numbers are nowhere near as promising


New light commercial vehicle registrations fell by 29% in the month of April compared to the same time last year, as the global semiconductor shortage continues to cause supply issues.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), April’s LCV sales figures show that the light commercial van market is still 12% weaker than before the Covid-19 pandemic. This has led the SMMT to revise its estimations of how many light vans will be sold in 2022 – now predicting that the LCV market will shrink by nearly 8% this year compared to 2021.

Last month’s registration figures exhibit rather significant sales declines across the board when compared to April last year. That said, April 2021 saw the highest total monthly sales numbers since records began, and so things may not be as dramatic as they seem. Nevertheless, the 4×4 market is 78% smaller than it was in April 2021, and the registration numbers for vans under two tonnes are down by nearly half year-on-year.

One in 24 new vans is now electric

That may not seem like a whole lot, but the all-electric van market continues to grow month-by-month as the year progresses, recording an impressive year-on-year increase of nearly 59% in April.

Over 5,000 new battery-electric vans (BEVs) have now been sold in the UK since the start of the year, and while this all-electric sales figure is still rather eclipsed by the 89,000 diesel models sold since January 1st, it is clear to see that electric LCV uptake is continuing to grow, as there were twice as many BEV registrations last month when compared to April 2021.

The SMMT says that, while this increasing electric van uptake is promising, further investment in chargepoint infrastructure is needed nationwide so that more fleet and self-employed van operators can be confident to make the all-electric switch.

Good month, bad month

Just like the passenger car market, the LCV industry has been hindered by supply shortages for well over a year now, and each van manufacturer has been dealing with supply issues to varying degrees.

Although they have a comparatively small share of the new van market, Maxus and Isuzu recorded very healthy registration numbers in April, all improving on their April 2021 registration figures. Market leaders Ford also outperformed the overall market by 10% in April, as did VauxhallToyota and Citroën.

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

Business as usual for Ford as Transit models extend their sales lead

The LCV best-sellers chart for April displays the extent of Ford’s market dominance as 2022 progresses, as the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit finish in 1st and 2nd place respectively.

The biggest challenger to Ford continues to be Vauxhall, which sold near 1,500 Vivaro models in April. Last month also saw the bigger Vauxhall Movano break in to the top ten monthly best-sellers list, while the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Transporter jostle to be best of the rest.

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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