Strong van sales pump up UK commercial market


The UK’s van market has its foot firmly on the accelerator – registrations of LCVs jumped 28.2 per cent in February.

The boost more than doubled January’s rise of 12.9 per cent, providing more strength to the start of the van sales year than even the most optimistic observers expected.

The robust van sector also helped offset truck registration volumes still feeling the effects of a rush to buy in 2013, made to avoid tighter Euro-6 emissions laws that came in on 1st January.

Traditionally February is the quietest month for van registrations, half the size of a typical month and less than a quarter of the plate-change months of March and September. But the 11,731 van registered in February 2014 certainly helped bolster the rolling-year figures, which are up 13.8 per cent to 275,728 units.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders that compiles the figures, is delighted by the rise and expects van volumes to remain on an upward trend in coming months.

“Growing van registrations supported the February vehicle market as middle and heavy-weight vans enjoyed healthy rises, reflecting improving economic activity,” Hawes says.

Every sector of the van market showed rises except pickups, which were down 9.9 per cent to 943 units. The biggest sector in terms of volume, 2.5 to 3.5-tonne vans, climbed 23.8 per cent to 6,455, while smaller 2.0 to 2.5-tonne vans more than doubled their sales, a 111 per cent rise to 2,664 units.

Ford continues to hold sway in the sub 3.5-tonne market, though its 2,610 registrations were only 1.2 per cent up. Second-placed Volkswagen jumped almost 41 per cent to 1,455 units, and Peugeot’s 1,693-unit figure was up 144 per cent on February 2013.

In the more telling year-to-date figures, Ford holds 25 per cent of the market compared to 26.8 per cent last year, while VW has 12.6 per cent (9.8). Peugeot appears to have cause for optimism, its market share up to 11.1 per cent from 7.4 this time last year.

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Van Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars and vans for more than 20 years, and attends many new model launches each year.

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