Light commercial vehicles set for record year of sales, predicts CAP

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Commercial vehicle operators moving away from larger vehicles to 3.5-tonne vans will lead to a record year for light commercial vehicle sales, says CAP.

The pricing experts say year-end LCV registrations are likely to top 360,000 this year, due in part to the improving UK economy but mainly shaped by commercial vehicle operators moving to smaller light commercials.

CAP, which also predicts that around 45,000 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be registered in 2015.

John Watts, CAP senior editor, commercial vehicles and motorcycles, said: “The predicted record number of LCV registrations flew in the face of some industry forecasts that a decline in sector share for traditional 7.5-tonne vehicles would see operators moving up to 10-or 12-tonne vehicles.

"The move away from 7.5-tonne vehicles would continue due to driving licence changes, driver CPC requirements, operator’s licence requirements and the increased kerb weight of many Euro 6 models.

"Many pundits have forecast a move up to 10 or 12 tonnes, which in theory provides a more efficient vehicle. As we anticipated, this simply hasn’t happened.

"In 2010, 3.4% of sales were in this weight band, but the sector share has dropped to only 2.6% this year.

"In recent years many operators have simply abandoned running heavier commercials altogether, and have replaced 7.5-tonne vehicles with 3.5-tonne light commercials which are not subject to operator’s licence, tachograph, HGV MOT or driver’s licence legislation.

"Their operating costs are significantly lower, there are no weight restrictions, they are much more manoeuvrable, their physical presence is less intrusive, and their environmental impact is perceived as less.

"Consequently, the light commercial market is enjoying the resulting unprecedented growth and is heading for a record year for registrations.”

SMMT figures showed that UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing grew 46.3% in July, with 9,274 units built and production for the domestic market particularly strong, up 137.6% over July 2014.

The UK CV industry has seen strong recovery in 2015 so far, with a 32.4% uplift in output.

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