LCV registrations decline amid economic and political uncertainty

row of vans

The new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined in October, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Figures show that 24,968 new LCVs joined British roads last month, a 7.4 % fall compared with the same month last year.

Demand for pick-ups remained stable, with registrations growing 0.5%. However, it was a different picture across all the van segments, with demand for smaller vans, vehicles weighing 2.0-2.5T, and large vans falling by 20.2%, 14.6% and 5.2% respectively.

Overall year-to-date figures saw a decline of -3.5% on 2016, with 307,647 registrations. Although the van market remains at a very high level, a recent decline in business confidence caused by ongoing political and economic uncertainty has resulted in further declines in the market, causing SMMT to revise its new van forecast for 2017. The market is now expected to decline by 2.8% on 2016 levels.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Following the recent revision to the new van forecast, this month’s decline is not unexpected.

“While the market remains at a very high level, the recent decline in business confidence, caused by economic and political uncertainty, is now having an impact on van registrations. Government must therefore address these concerns and create the conditions necessary for the market to prosper.”

Richard Tilden, head of commercial vehicles at Lex Autolease said that the drop in demand is unsurprising considering October is traditionally a fairly quiet month.  

However, he added: “We’re still seeing a good level of enquiries, on a par with last year, so there’s still potential for the market to recover slightly at the end of the year.”

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