WLTP regulations blamed as van sales fall 23.5% in September

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WLTP regulations, together with economic and political uncertainly have been blamed for a 23.5% year-on-year fall in new van registrations in September.

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers show that 41,216 LCVs were registered in the month, down 12,632 on the same month last year.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said, “These figures are unusual as LCV registrations have been growing this year, but the impact of regulatory changes, coupled with ongoing political and economic uncertainty, distorted the market in September.

“Registrations for the year-to-date are still healthy, however, but for this to be maintained we need stability restored, which should give renewed confidence to businesses to invest in their fleets.”

September saw the introduction of WLTP engine emissions regulations applied to vans and light trucks, which meant there was a shortage of product availability.

There were also more WLTP non-compliant vehicles being registered in August in order to beat the deadline, and now these vehicles are entering the market as delivery mileage used vans.

Registrations of 2.5- to 3.5-tonne vans fell 35.2%, while the market for sub-2.0-tonne vans was up 12.3%.

Medium van (2.0-2.5-tonne) registrations were up 16.8%, which the pick-up and 4x4 segments both fell 18.8% and 48.4% respectively.

September’s decline followed a period of sustained growth, with LCV registrations rising every month this year to August.

Year-to-date, the LCV market is up 4.5% with more than 286,000 new vans being registered.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, added: “We are expecting the market to rebalance in the final quarter of 2019 as the WLTP changes work through the system.

“Positively, the market is still up 4.5% year-to-date, however whilst dealers are saying there is still pent-up demand in the market, many buyers are holding off making purchasing decisions until the current political and economic uncertainty dissipates.”

In July, Commercial Fleet reported that van manufacturers do not expeect WLTP van tests to impact supply.

Best-selling vans

Ford’s Transit Custom was the best-selling van in September with 5,653 registrations – almost double those of the next best-selling van, the Vauxhall Vivaro.

The Transit Custom is also the best-selling van in 2019, with almost double the registrations of its larger Transit stablemate.

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