New LCV market shrinks by 28% in March

There were more light vans sold in March than January and February combined, but March sales were still down over 25% when compared to 2021


New light commercial vehicle registrations fell by 28% in the month of March compared to the same time last year, as the global semiconductor shortage continues to cause supply issues.

Overall, the new light van market is down 24% in 2022 when compared to the first quarter of 2021. However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which collates the van registration data, explained that this is partly a reflection of the cyclical process of LCV fleet renewal following a period of “robust” post-pandemic recovery in 2021.

Compared to March 2021, the registration numbers for vans under two tonnes was down 71% in March, while Pickup registrations also fell by 48%.

Electric vans continue to draw interest

Perhaps the only positive in a disappointing month for the LCV market, the sales of battery-powered electric vans (BEVs) has continued to increase, as BEV sales were up by 18% in March compared to the same month last year.

Overall, the BEV market has grown by 69% so far in 2022 when compared to the first three months of 2021, though electric vans still only make up around 6% of the new LCV market overall, with nearly 93% of new van registrations being diesels since 2022 began.

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, Isuzu, SsangYong and the London Electric Vehicle Company recorded very healthy registration numbers in March, all improving on their March 2021 registration figures. Market leaders Ford also outperformed the overall market by 10% in March, as did Vauxhall, Toyota and Citroën.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, Renault 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).

Ford dominates the LCV best-sellers chart

The LCV best-sellers chart for March 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 more than 3,000 Vivaro models in March. That said, this is still fewer than hald of the 8,000 Ford Transit Custom models sold last month, as Ford registrations accounted for an impressive 42% of the new LCV market.

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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