Record-breaking year for van sales in 2016

  • Fourth-consecutive growth year for UK LCV market
  • Increasing sales of pickups contribute significantly
  • December 2016 second best for registrations ever

It was another record-breaking 12 months for van and pickup sales in the UK as 2016 ended as the fourth consecutive year of growth.

According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 375,687 light commercial vehicles were registered last year, a 1.0% increase over 2015.

The new record comes despite December 2016 falling 10.4% short of the bumper results of December 2015 – but it was still the second-best December on record, though.

Pickups prove popular in 2016

In news that will surprise almost no-one, growth in 2016 was driven by a significant increase in sales of pickups, which are up 17.6% compared to 2015 to 47,715 registrations in total. Demand in December leapt 52.2% year-on-year, continuing a trend that saw pickup growth in every month of 2016 except January.

All other LCV sectors were down versus 2015 – except heavy vans rated from 2.0-3.5-tonnes, which were up 4.8%. With a 62% share of the overall van market, that’s a useful increase, representing 232,948 units in total.

See the official chart from the SMMT (below) for the full breakdown.

UK van and pickup sales 2016

Ford still the manufacturer to beat

Ford remains the UK’s favourite van maker, with the Transit Custom, Transit, Transit Connect and Ranger pickup all in the 2016 top 10.

It wasn’t alone in having a successful year, however. Renault has already confirmed that with 25,842 registrations – representing 1.5% growth and a 6.8% market share – it, too, had another record year.

UK van and pickup sales 2016

That said, Ford sold nearly double that number of Transit Customs alone, so while Renault may have been Europe’s biggest LCV brand for 18 consecutive years, it’s still got some way to go to dent Ford’s dominance in the UK.

SMMT cautious but optimistic

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes had this to say about the 2016 van sales figures:

‘Another record year for light commercial vehicles is great news, even with marginal growth, and underlines the fundamental strength of the sector. To ensure future fleet investment and growth in this important market, buyers – and manufacturers – are looking for a strong economy and business environment.’

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New pickups coming soon

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