The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by 5.9% in the first month of 2020, breaking a run of three successive months of year-on-year decline, new figures have revealed.
The increase in registrations was put down to pent-up demand due to regulatory changes, as well as operators taking advantage of attractive deals on the latest models.
Statistics compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the small vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes and mid-sized vans weighing more than 2.0-2.5 tonnes sectors both registered double-digit growth at 26.3% and 41.7% respectively. Meanwhile 4x4s experienced moderate year-on-year growth of 6.3%, and registrations of vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes remained stable at 0.9%.
But the trend was bucked by pickups, which fell by 9.7%. and larger vans.
In all, 23,557 LCVs were registered in January, compared to 22,236 in the same period last year.
As usual, the Ford Transit Custom was the most registered LCV of the month totalling 3,117 units sold, with the Ford Transit in second with 1,897 units, spelling a good month for Ford. The Vauxhall Vivaro was the third highest seller, with 1,549 registrations, followed by the Ford Transit Connect (1,364) and Citroen Berlingo (1,245).
By manufacturer, Ford had a very good month. Year-on-year, sales of its vans <3.5t were up 18% and for vehicles >3.6-<6t they increased by 209%.
Vauxhall also had a good month at the <3.5t end of the market, with registrations up by 82%, possibly boosted by manufacturer offers. Mercedes-Benz’s sales of its larger LCVs were also up by 133% year-on-year.
Conversely, sales of Mitsubishi vans <3.5t fell by 44.7%. Iveco and Renault also suffered declines in this segment – sales falling by 37.9% and 34.5% respectively.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said that January’s figures were “welcome news” for the commercial vehicle sector. “Especially welcome is the increased uptake of alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles, essential if we are to address both climate change and air quality goals. The fastest way to do this is by encouraging uptake of the latest low emission vehicles, regardless of fuel type, and business confidence remains vital for this transition.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, added: “There is optimism in light commercial dealerships that the demand for clean, efficient and reliable business transport puts this sector in good stead for 2020.
“Particularly, the jump in registrations for small and mid-size vehicles that are commonly used as service vans indicates confidence from buyers in future business prosperity.”