The new van market got off to a positive start in 2017, with January seeing a small 1.2% growth in registrations, according to new data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Heavy vans weighing between 2.5t and 3.5t, which make up the bulk of the market, rose 5.6% in January. Meanwhile, pickups’ popularity continued to grow following a successful 2016, with registrations increasing 28.9%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Vans are the backbone of British business so it is positive to see the strength of the market continue into 2017.
“With the success of the sector so closely linked to business confidence, Government must ensure the conditions that have delivered this growth are maintained.”
The mid-size van sector 2.0-2.5 tonne also showed a modest increase of 3.1% - although in volume terms, this is a small market.
Over the past few years there has been a steady reluctance to buy the small vans under 2.0 tonnes GVW. These are often based on car/estate chassis where the sector was down - 16.2% as buyers are opting for the larger vans.
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: “It is positive to see that light commercial vehicle registrations continued to grow last month with a 1.2% uplift in sales compared to the same period last year.”
Heavy weight vans and trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 2.5-3.5 tonne represented around 60% of all light commercials registered in January with an increase of 5.6% over the previous January. This shows that there is still high demand for door to door deliveries, as many of this weight of commercial are used to deliver online goods.
Over the past few months there has also been a continued strengthening of the pick-up market and January was no exception with growth of 28.9%, recording 3,439 new units being put on the road. This could demonstrate a new confidence in the construction and house building industries with the emphasis on increasing first time buyer homes.
Ford took the market by storm in January with 7,709 registrations - equal to a 36% market share.
Robinson concluded: “Concerns about Brexit seem to be on the back-burner while companies, tradesmen and the self-employed get on and do business with the assistance of their new light commercials.”