LCV market growth continues into February

The LCV market has recorded its second consecutive month of growth - light van sales grew by 9% in February year-on-year


The LCV market has recorded its second consecutive month of growth after a positive January – light van sales grew by 9% in February compared to the same month last year.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), just over 17,500 new LCVs were registered in the UK last month. February is traditionally a pretty low volume month, and February 2023 was no different, as many buyers delayed the registration of their new van(s) until March in order to get the latest bi-annual number plate.

The SMMT adds that this 9% growth is the highest percentage jump in sales year-on-year since 1998, though February LCV registrations are still markedly lower than pre-pandemic sales totals.

The registrations of 4x4s increased by 91% respectively year-on-year in February, while registrations of light vans under two tonnes also grew by a modest 5% when compared to February 2022.

Combining the two months of 2023 that the SMMT has published sales results on so far, the LCV market is up 18% when compared to the same time last year – a sign that LCV production and demand is on the rise in the UK.

Electric van uptake hits a speed bump in February

Despite the light van industry recording positive growth overall last month, the sales of electric vans (BEVs) dived by 45% in February year-on-year. Though this sounds worrying for the BEV market, the SMMT estimates that this is an anomaly, and still predicts that electric light vans sales will grow by 65% this year.

Whether this year-on-year growth is enough to meet the industry’s net zero ambitions is another matter, however. The SMMT argues that the charging infrastructure for these BEVs is so far lacking, and a quicker roll out of van chargepoint stations is currently required.

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 many van manufacturers are still dealing with supply issues to varying degrees.

Renault recorded a serious surge in sales in February year-on-year, with registrations up a staggering 665%. MAN, Land Rover, Toyota, Nissan and Fiat also recorded very healthy registration numbers in February, all considerably improving on their February 2022 registration figures. Volkswagen also outperformed the overall market by 10% in February, as did Vauxhall.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Citroën, 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).

Business as usual for Ford in February

With January and February now in the rear-view mirror, the Ford Transit Custom is starting to build a commanding lead in the 2023 LCV sales race, following its sales dominance in 2022. The larger Ford Transit sits in second, closely followed by the mid-sized Vauxhall Vivaro in third.

The Ford Ranger continues to be the UK’s best-selling pickup model, followed by the Toyota Hilux which currently clings on to tenth in the annual rankings.

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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