Van registrations soared 23.6 per cent in March, as confident businesses headed for showrooms.

In total 61,894 new vans were registered, according to figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), contributing to total commercial market growth of more than 25 per cent.

According to SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes the continued upturn in the market, and the third month of consecutive growth, can be attributed to higher levels of consumer and business confidence.

“In the van and truck markets, there has been a clear shift towards the larger vehicles in the sector in the first three months of the year,” Hawes says.

“Both 2.5 – 3.5-tonne vans and 3-axle articulated trucks have seen a sharp increase in registrations as operators seek to make their fleets as flexible and cost-effective as possible.”

The 2.5-3.5t sector, the biggest in the van market, saw growth of 23.8 per cent to 34,007 units, though the biggest growth in percentage terms was in the 4×4 market, the 2,349 registrations more than double those in March 2014.

Ford continues to dominate the van market, growing its share from 22 per cent in March 2014 to 26 per cent last month. Volkswagen had the second-best March performance with 11.9 per cent of the market, followed by Vauxhall (11.2), Peugeot (9.9) and Citroen (8.7). According to Ford the brand’s CV sales are at their highest level ever recorded, up 43 per cent on March 2014.