New van demand dips in March as market stabilises

row of vans

Light commercial vehicle registrations dipped in March, as the market stabilised following a sustained period of strong growth and record demand, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Overall, 63,316 light commercial vehicles hit British roads last month, representing a small fall of -0.9%, and the first decline in March for five years.

Richard Tilden, head of commercial vehicles at Lex Autolease, said: “A slight slowdown in LCV registrations is no surprise once a combination of lead times and business caution in the second half of 2016 are taken into account. However, our expectations are that registrations will pick up as we move further into 2017.

"Given the wide range of vehicles in the market, plus the increasing suitability of ultra-low emission vans, the key decision for businesses will be to ensure the vans they procure are the right fit for their needs.”

Pick-ups and heavier vans experienced an increase in demand in March, up 23% and 3.6% respectively. However, figures for smaller vans painted a different picture, with registrations of vehicles weighing less than 2 tonnes down by -31.6% and vans between 2.0-2.5 tonnes falling -4%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The new van market has experienced strong levels of demand in recent years and this dip in registrations represents a natural rebalancing of the market.

“Despite the decline, demand remains at a historically high level with year-to-date registrations matching 2015’s performance, which was only exceeded by demand in 2016. We expect demand to remain stable at this high level throughout the year.”


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