LCV market declines for sixth consecutive month

New light commercial vehicle registrations fell by 23% in the month of June compared to the same time last year, as supply shortages continue


New light commercial vehicle registrations fell by 23% in the month of June compared to the same time last year, meaning that the LCV market has been in a state of decline now for six months back to back.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), June’s LCV sales figures show that the light commercial van market is now 27% weaker than before the Covid-19 pandemic, as components shortages continue to impact van production across the industry.

Over 26,000 new LCVs were registered in the UK in the month of June, adding to the yearly sales total that has surpassed 144,000 new light vans as we reach the mid-point of 2022. However, the SMMT comments that this bi-annual sales total is down nearly 25% on the first six months of last year, when demand was higher due to “pent-up demand for online delivery vehicles and a bounce-back in the construction sector.”

Compared to June 2021, sales for every type of LCV were down last month. Sales of 4x4s and mid-size vans were down 44% year on year, while large van registrations were a little better than the market average, with a sales decline of 16%.

New charging infrastructure “urgently needed”

While the new LCV market as a whole is continuing to decline, the increasing battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake is encouraging. Sales of electric light vans were up by 52% in June year on year, meaning that BEV sales across the LCV market have increased by 60% in the last six months, compared to the first half of 2021.

The SMMT says that, while it is encouraging to see van manufacturers across the sector launch several brand-new electric van models in recent months – a sign that commercial marquees are prioritising the production of their greenest vehicles to meet public demand and zero emissions regulations coming into effect in 2024 and 2030 – it also comments that “action is urgently needed to boost consumer confidence” so that this accelerating BEV uptake continues.

This ‘consumer confidence’ comes in the form of expanding LCV charging infrastructure networks across the UK, and financial incentives for electric van buyers. SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes explains, “With inflation and energy costs hitting the pockets of UK van buyers, as well as the industry, operators need to be assured that charging infrastructure can meet their needs and that fiscal and grant incentives are in place for the long term.”

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 and LEVC recorded very healthy registration numbers in June, all improving on their June 2021 registration figures. Market leaders Ford also outperformed the overall market by 10% in June, as did SsangYong, and Toyota.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Fiat, Citroën, Iveco, Land Rover, Volkswagen, and particularly Nissan (sales down 72%). All of these brands underachieved compared to the overall market by at least 10% (and in some cases, by a lot more than that).

Ford continues to extend LCV sales gap to Mercedes and Vauxhall

The LCV best-sellers list for June displays that it was business as usual for Ford last month, with four different entrants in the top ten – three of which being different variants in the Transit range.

The Ford Transit Custom extends its lead to over 24,000 models sold so far this year, 6,000 more than any other model, after topping the monthly sales chart again in June. The regular Ford Transit was less than 200 sales behind.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter continues to sell in consistent numbers, overtaking the Ford Ranger to take fourth in the annual sales figures, but the best of the rest continues to be the Vauxhall Vivaro in third, with over 9,000 sales six months into 2022. The all-electric version of the Vivaro, called the Vivaro-e, is also the best-selling electric LCV so far this year, with just under a third of all Vauxhall Vivaro models being BEVs.

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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