New van market grows in April but pickup demand falls

row of vans

Demand for new light commercial vehicle (LCVs) grew in April, rising 3.9% as the market continued to fluctuate, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

More than 23,500 LCVs were registered by operators in the UK last month, with the growth following a substantial

18.8% decline April 2017.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After last April’s double-digit decline, last month’s growth isn’t surprising. Year-on-year van market performance has fluctuated over recent months, reflecting natural variances in buying cycles and a range of new model introductions. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2018.”

Vans weighing less than 2.0-tonnes experienced the largest rise in the month up 11.0%. Medium and heavier vans followed, up 9.2% and 5.5% respectively, while demand for pickups fell 13.5%.

The performance means year-to-date registrations are holding relatively steady, down -2.3%, with 117,875 new LCVs joining British roads since January.

Russell Adams, commercial vehicle manager at Lex Autolease, said: “After March’s drop, it’s encouraging to see Light Commercial Vehicles sales rebound slightly this month.

“New van registrations reached record highs in 2016 and figures have tapered off since then. However LCVs play a fundamental role in a large number of sectors and the need for modern, fit-for-purpose vans that take advantage of new technology will remain.

“We are in a transformative phase for LCVs. Political and economic uncertainty are, no doubt, factors, but we are also nearing the point where electric vans become a viable option for a number of job roles. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that some businesses are pausing for thought on major purchasing decisions and that is manifesting in lower and fluctuating demand.” 

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