New van registrations were down 11.1% to 39,167 units in March, compared to 44,074 units in March 2011.
Van registrations remained down on 2011 for all months in Q1 2012, with the three months to March down 14.7%.
However, 4X4 utility-type vans and 2-2.5t vans were the exceptions to the general pattern of year-on-year declines.
“Vans struggled to retain the rate of growth seen in 2011, down 11.1% in March while trucks volumes grew 25.6%, the 18th consecutive monthly rise,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
“Fuel prices are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so the efficiency of new vans and trucks will be a key factor in returning the market to stability over the course of 2012.”