Van registrations set for record year

  • Large vans and pickups perform strongest
  • Growth driven by prospering construction industry
  • Registrations up 2.9 percent so far in 2016

This year is still set to surpass 2015’s record number of 371,870 LCV registrations, with May figures up 1.9 percent to 28,480. The growth is driven by the continued success of the construction industry and increased consumer confidence.

Strong economy, strong van sales

The 28,000 LCVs registered last month set a new record for van sales in May. So far this year, 158,402 light commercials have been registered, which is up 2.9 percent on 2015.

Analysts attribute this largely to the prospering economy and, more specifically, the construction sector which is expected to increase by a further 3.6 percent in 2016. The SMMT, however, is warning of market saturation and speculates that growth may start to slow.

“Although May was a record-breaking month for the UK’s light commercial vehicle market, the pace of growth is easing and is indicative of the performance we anticipate this year following the very high levels of demand seen in 2015,” Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, explained.

“Providing there are no political or economic shocks to business confidence over the coming months, we expect the LCV sector’s good health to prevail during the remainder of 2016 as consumer appetite for online deliveries continues to grow.”

Results by sector

Large vans (2.5t-3.5t) and pickup trucks continue to lead the charge, with sales up 13.3 and 5.6 percent for the respective sectors. The large van sector’s success can be attributed to its association with the construction industry, while the pickup truck sector’s growth is credited to impressive finance deals on outgoing models (like the Mitsubishi L200 Series 4 and Nissan Navara) and the arrival of more lifestyle derivatives like the VW Amarok Atacama and Isuzu D-Max AT35.

However, all other sectors have contracted in May, with 4×4 commercial sales falling 33.6 percent, car-derived-vans by 11.8 percent and light vans by 17.2 percent. The fall in smaller van sales is mainly due to the increased fuel efficiency of medium vans, with many operators choosing to upsize for increased practicality.

The huge hit suffered by 4×4 commercials is largely down to the demise of the Land Rover Defender, which dominated sales. Last year was the best on record, with the Solihull plant ramping up production for limited-edition run-out models.

Results by manufacturer

Ford’s LCV domination continues with the Blue Oval taking in over one-third of registrations (9,022 or 31.7 percent), followed by Volkswagen (3,495 or 12.3 percent), Vauxhall (3,092 or 10.9 percent), Peugeot (2,467 or 8.7 percent) and Mercedes-Benz just managed to climb into fifth place (2,400 or 8.4 percent).


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