New van market up 8.8% in November

New light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations rose 8.8% in November in the UK, the third consecutive monthly increase, which was driven by online deliveries, according to new figures.

Figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that, despite varying lockdown restrictions across the country, the sector responded to growing demand as businesses scaled up online delivery operations.

Registrations of small vans weighing less than or equal to 2 tonnes and medium vans weighing more than 2-2.5 tonnes rose by 13.7% and 13.6% respectively. Demand for larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes saw the largest growth, up 25.2%. However, demand for 4x4s and pickups dropped, down 0.7% and 56.2% respectively.

Meanwhile, demand for battery electric and plug-in hybrid LCVs continued to grow, up 79.7% compared with November last year. Though still a small portion of the overall van market, where key considerations remain payload and range, alternatively fuelled vans have doubled their share of the market to 1.9% of all LCV registrations in the year to date.

Although an increase in ecommerce is helping van demand grow, performance in the year to date is still behind last year’s relatively weak numbers, down 21.5% or almost 73,000 units short on LCV registrations in the first 11 months of 2019.

Pickups and vans under 2 tonnes have been hardest hit, with registrations down 32.9 and 35.7% respectively, although LCVs of all sizes have posted declines in registrations this year.

Following the trend of the year, the Ford Transit Custom was the biggest selling van in November, with 4,156 units shifted, followed by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (2,747 units), Ford Transit (2,356) and Vauxhall Vivaro (1,502). In the year to date, these four are the top selling vans too, with the Transit Custom selling 16,500 more than its nearest rival.

The Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Boxer had particularly good months in terms of registrations in November, which was in part down to offers from manufacturers.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Growth in new van registrations, even through November’s lockdown, is welcome during these turbulent times but it’s important not to assume a long trend just yet. As regions emerge from lockdown for the final month of 2020, it’s vital that this growth translates into longer-term investment in fleet renewal for the sector to help drive the economy towards recovery.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now the editor of our three commercial vehicle titles: The Van Expert, The Truck Expert and Commercial Vehicle Engineer.

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