The UK’s van sales market put the brakes on five months of growth in January, slipping by 4.2 per cent.

According to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, light commercial registrations totaled 21,102 in the month, with the smaller vehicles causing the decline – sub-2.0-tonne vans were down 11.8 per cent to 2,486 units while 2.0-2.5-tonne vehicles slid by 23.3 per cent to 3,073.

However the market’s largest sector, for 2.5-3.5-tonne vehicles, grew, by 2.1 per cent to 11,947 vehicles, and the SMMT states that this reflects a trend towards heavier vehicles as operators seek to maximise the efficiency of their fleets.

The SMMT is also refusing to be concerned by the figures, chief executive Mike Hawes saying that put into context of a record market in 2015, which reached 371,830 vehicles, demand for vans remains very high.

“On the heels of a record-breaking 2015, which saw LCV registrations grow by an impressive 15.6 per cent, January’s levelling off in demand comes as no surprise, and is indicative of what we can expect for the coming year,” Hawes says.

“The overall market remains very strong, with business confidence high and the trend for home deliveries still growing,” he adds.

Ford continues to dominate the market with 6,296 vehicles registered in January, Volkswagen just claiming second place with 2,548 registrations to the 2,298 of Vauxhall. Peugeot (1,920) and Citroën (1,910) complete the top five.