Strong van sales drove the UK commercial vehicle market to an all-time high in 2015.

New figures from industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders show that registrations of commercial vehicles in 2015 were up 16.7 per cent.

Van registrations climbed 15.6 per cent over the year to 371,830 units, with December finishing the year on a high with 30,410 vans registered, 14.6 per cent more than in December 2014.

According to the SMT a steep curve in growth since 2012 has seen the CV market overtake pre-recession levels. And it has been fuelled by the van sector, where demand has been increased by an ongoing boom in online shopping requiring more delivery vehicles, and attractive finance deals encouraging operators to renew their vehicles.

The 2015 van registration figure, of 371,830 vehicles, is a record and according to SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes excellent news for both the commercial vehicle industry and the economy.

“CV demand is a key barometer of UK economic confidence and the market’s strong growth in 2015 was particularly encouraging,” Hawes says,

However he adds that he expects to see such record figures followed by the market levelling off slightly in 2016.

The strongest growth in the van market in 2015 was seen in the largest sector, 2.0 to 2.5-tonne vehicles up 21.3 per cent to 222,342 vehicles. While 4×4 registrations increased by 22.3 per cent, they represent a much smaller slice of the 2015 market with 10,719 vehicles.

Ford remains the dominant player in the van sector, ending 2015 with 26.96 per cent of the market compared to 25.65 in 2014. Volkswagen secured runner-up spot despite its share slipping from 12.51 to 11.59 per cent, while Vauxhall took third with 11.22 per cent, up from 10.14 per cent in 2014.