UK new LCV market grew for second consecutive month in October - Glass's

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

The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew for the second consecutive month in October, with the 28,753 registrations the highest performing on record for October.

The 13.3% increase in registrations was driven by the heavier end of the van market ahead of an expected busy delivery period in the run up to Christmas.

This is in contrast to a weaker October 2019, when the market was impacted by supply challenges linked to the introduction of WLTP compliant LCVs.

The second countrywide lockdown, social distancing measures, redundancies, Brexit and possible vehicle tariffs will all affect LCV demand for the remainder of this year and well into next year.

Year-to-date registrations to the of October have declined by 24.1%, with 236,833 units hitting UK roads (311,989 units – 2019).

Breaking the month down by sectors reveals that registrations for pickups declined by a disappointing 31.8%, whilst vans under 2.0 tonnes, vans between 2.0-2.5 tonnes and vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes increased by 1.6%, 2.9% and 26.8% respectively.

Top five LCV registrations

Year-to-date 2020   Oct 2020   Oct 2019  
Ford Transit Custom 34,165 Ford Transit Custom 3,773 Vauxhall Vivaro 3,041
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 18,996 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2,457 Ford Transit Custom 2,450
Ford Transit 17,359 Ford Transit 2,135 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1,972
Vauxhall Vivaro 12,669 Vauxhall Vivaro 1,923 Volkswagen Transporter 1,323
Volkswagen Transporter 12,511 Volkswagen Transporter 1,899 Ford Transit


The quarter four SMMT LCV registration forecast for 2020 has just been issued and surprisingly shows an increase of 6.6% to 288,000 units.

With a current shortfall of over 50,000 units, lead in delays on new stock, a shortage of vehicles at dealer level and two months left of the year, the new predictions would seem a tall order to achieve.

Moving into November, UK registrations remain over 24% down on the same point last year. The pandemic with the second English lockdown continues to seriously affect many businesses.

Although September and October registrations were welcome boosts to the economy, it will take an exceptional boost to achieve the latest SMMT forecast.

The interconnected nature of the UK economy means that the demands of the latest lockdown, and Brexit, will bring opportunities and challenges in equal measure during the coming months.

October used light commercial vehicle (LCV) overview

Performance in the LCV auction market remained exceptional in October with buyers exchanging high bids for retail-ready stock.

The continuing stock shortages across all ages and sectors, driven by fleet extensions and increased rental demand, means vendors are currently in a very strong position.

In the retail market, dealers are enjoying healthy profits as prices continue to rise. There is no change on the horizon, as prices look set to remain high for some time.

Euro 6 stock made up nearly 40% of all LCVs sold at auction during October, with an 88.9% first-time conversion rate.

Much of this stock continues to support the increasing demand for home deliveries during the second lockdown, and the run-up to Christmas.

The sustained appetite for retail-ready stock shows no sign of abating. Auction houses have adapted quickly during the pandemic, moving their business models online.

Whilst dealers and traders, who historically attended physical sales to ‘touch the metal’, now buy online with confidence.

In return, many dealers are offering retail customers ‘click and collect’ online services adhering to current government guidelines.

October in detail

Glass’s auction data results show the overall number of LCV sales in October fell by 8.4%, versus September 2020, and were down 2.0% versus October 2019.

First-time conversions were up 2.5% on September to 89.9% - the second-highest level in the last twelve months – and up 4.3% versus October 2019.

Since March this year, average sales prices have risen 33.6%, with October 4.5% up on September and 36.3% up on the same point last year.

October prices were at the highest level for the last twelve months, the average age of sold stock rose from 69.7 months in September to 72.4 months in October, whilst this figure was 0.7 months lower than the same point last year.

In line with this older vehicle age profile, average mileages for those vehicles sold increased from 70,457 miles in September to 73,438 miles in October. Remarkably, the October average mileage is nearly 7,250 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 and 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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