The new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market fell in September, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It reports that 57,368 new LCVs were driven off forecourts, a 4.2% fall compared with the same month last year.
Demand for pickups and heavier vans was broadly stable, both experiencing rises of 0.4% and 0.1% respectively.
However, demand for smaller vans fell, with those weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes down 10.7% and vans under 2.0 tonnes down 25.5%.
Year-to-date, figures show a 3.1% fall overall, with demand for popular heavier vans and those weighing less than 2.0 tonnes playing their part, declining 3.2% and 20.2% respectively.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Business confidence has taken a hit recently as economic and political uncertainty continues, so fluctuations in purchasing patterns are to be expected.
“We must remember that the van market remains at a historically high level but growth will depend on better economic conditions and business confidence, something government must prioritise.”
Richard Tilden, head of commercial vehicles at Lex Autolease, was disappointed to see the fall in van registrations.
However, he said: “The level of enquiries we’re receiving remains quite strong - up 10% from this time last year - so we could see the rate of uptake improve in the coming months.
“Modern Euro 6 diesels remain the most popular choice, but we expect that the falling whole-life costs of electric vehicles will start to make them a more attractive proposition for businesses. That said, the country needs the charging infrastructure to back this up.
"We consistently hear from businesses who are very interested in exploring electric vans, but are concerned about the logistics of charging.”