LCV market grew by 2% in January - Glass's

Andy PictonAuthor: Andy Picton, chief commercial vehicle editor, Glass’s (pictured)

The results for January show an overall positive start for 2021. However, this positivity masks large declines in all sectors except large vans. This sector single-handedly drove demand during January.

SMMT registration data indicates the LCV market grew by 2% in January. The 24,029 registrations, was 472 units more than in January 2020 and was the highest January volume since 1990 (24,094).

Breaking down the results reveals the only highlight was a 25.4% registration increase for vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes. Registrations for vans under 2.0 tonnes declined 50.1% whilst vans between 2.0-2.5 tonnes declined 16.2%. Whilst pickup registrations declined by 25.8%, 533 new plug-in battery-electric LCVs joining UK roads, increasing the BEV market fuel type share to 2.22%.

Top five LCV registrations

YTD 2021   Jan 2021   Jan 2020  
Ford Transit Custom 2,711 Ford Transit Custom 2,711 Ford Transit Custom 3,117
Ford Transit 2,379 Ford Transit 2,379 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1,897
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1,931 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1,931 Vauxhall Vivaro 1,549
Vauxhall Vivaro 1,415 Vauxhall Vivaro 1,415 Ford Transit Connect 1,364
Volkswagen Transporter 1,393 Volkswagen Transporter 1,363 Citroen Berlingo 1,245


The pandemic continues to affect the whole UK economy. While the UK automotive industry avoided tariffs following Brexit, the Rules of Origin (RoO) requirements hidden within the new legislation are creating new barriers to trade.

Before January 1, 2021, automotive products legally made in the UK could be sold anywhere in the UK and the EU. From January 1, 2021, automotive manufacturers must provide proof that at least 40% of the value of the parts in a finished vehicle exported to the EU originated in the UK. This threshold climbs to 45% in 2023 and 55% in 2027.

With increasing battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production, the need for domestic battery production is vitally important. Without this, OEMs are less likely to invest in the UK.

The future must involve measures that can deliver long-term changes in the industry. With ambitious targets set to address climate change and air quality goals, the fastest way to achieve these goals is to instil business confidence and encourage the take-up of the latest low emission vehicles.

January used Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) overview

The first half of January saw the usual seasonal slowdown, with conversion rates and prices easing in line with some of the older and higher mileage stock on offer.

Demand remained strong for the cleanest retail stock, with the shortage of later plate Euro 6 vehicles forcing prices ever higher. With a lack of new de-fleet stock to ease supply and demand issues, prices look set to remain high for at least the first half of 2021.

With new vehicle production still below pre-pandemic levels, there is a severe shortage of stock, which is forcing fleets to run their vehicles for longer.

As we move through the year, the roll-out of the global vaccination programme and the easing of lockdown measures will determine how quickly the new market recovers, in turn, increasing volume in the used market.

With the recent lifting of government restrictions on the sale of repossessed vehicles, the used market should benefit from an increase in volume over the next few months.

Although sales at auction in January decreased compared to January 2020, conversion rates over the period increased by 2.7%. To highlight the shortage of late-year stock in the marketplace at present, only 6.5% of all vehicles sold during the month were less than 2 years old, whilst Euro 5 stock made up just under 31%.

Medium-sized vans again proved the most versatile and popular in the used market, accounting for over 35% of all sales, followed by Small vans with 30%.

January in detail

Glass’s auction data shows the overall number of LCV sales in January declined by 30.5% versus December 2020, whilst first-time conversions remained steady at 85.7% (85.9% - December).

Average sales prices paid in January increased by 8.2% versus December and were over 33% higher than the same point last year. January’s prices were the highest in the last twelve months and 3.5% higher than the previous best recorded in October. The average age of sold stock decreased from 72 months in December to 68.8 months in January and was 6.6 months younger than the same point last year.

In line with sales of younger vehicles, average mileages also decreased from 78,005 miles in December to 75,532 miles in January and were nearly 6,200 miles lower than at the same point last year.

Glass’s continues to monitor the LCV market closely and has an open dialogue with auction houses, manufacturers, leasing and rental companies, independent traders and dealers as well as the main industry bodies. This information, combined with the wealth of knowledge in our CV team ensures Glass’s valuations remain relevant in the market place.

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