LCV market growth continues into August

August signalled the eighth month of consecutive registrations growth for the van market, as annual van registrations passed the 200,000 mark


August signalled the eighth month of consecutive registrations growth for the van market, as annual van registrations passed the 200,000 mark last month.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), over 16,000 new LCVs joined the UK road network last month – around 800 more than in August 2022. August is traditionally a smaller volume month ahead of the September plate change.

4×4 registrations for August grew by an impressive 164% when compared to the same month last year, and sales of mid-size vans (between two and two-and-a-half tonnes) and pickups also grew by 72% and 22% respectively. In what is becoming a continuing trend, the sales of light vans under two tonnes fell by 30% last month.

Large vans (between two-and-a-half and three-an-a-half tonnes) still make up the large majority of new van sales, and this sector fell by 5% year-on-year.

Though sales are on the rise, the supply issues manufacturers are facing haven’t entirely dissipated, and the War in Ukraine and China’s persistent Covid-19 issues could cause further supply strain in the months to come.

Source: SMMT

7% of all LCV registration were electric in August

Following an excellent month of battery-powered sales in July when electric van registrations surged by 95%, the electric van (BEV) market grew again in August by 19% year-on-year.

With more than 25 electric van models now available in the UK, battery-powered vans were responsible for 7% of new LCV registrations in August. That said, BEVs still currently account for only 5% of the new LCV market when you look at 2023 as a whole, which is the same as last year.

Diesel vans still account for 90% of new light van sales, and demand for electric vans remains some distance behind the new car market, where the BEV market share is three times greater.

“Diesel models still make up more than nine in ten registrations, proof of how far the market must move if it is to decarbonise”, says SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “With an end of sale date and a ZEV mandate looming, we must pull every lever to deliver the transition.”

Good month, bad month

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

The most impressive sales increase belongs to Nissan, which totalled an excellent 183% growth in registrations in August. Citroën, Renault, Isuzu, Toyota, Land Rover and Vauxhall also outperformed the overall market by more than 10% last month.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Ford, Peugeot, and Mercedes-Benz. 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 Transit Custom in commanding sales lead

With the last LCV sales of Summer 2023 now recorded, the annual sales race has settled into a consistent ranking at the top with the last-year’s best-selling LCV, the Transit Custom, building a commanding sales lead. The larger Transit is also becoming a permanent fixture in second place, as Ford locked out the top two spots in August.

The Vauxhall Vivaro was the UK’s ‘best-of-the-rest’ candidate in August, the third month running, and it holds on to third in the annual rankings as a consequence. Vauxhall says that its Vivaro Electric is the best-selling BEV in the UK so far, with over 3,000 new models registered so far this year.

The Ford Ranger pickup is still the UK’s best-selling pickup model by a country mile, but dropped out of the monthly standings in August.

The Volkswagen Transporter, Vauxhall Combo and Citroën Berlingo and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter sit in the middle of the pack, while the Renault Trafic, Toyota Hilux, Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Boxer complete the August rankings.

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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