New Van Registrations Back on the Rise after Lockdown Restrictions Lifted

There was a marked improvement in UK light commercial vehicle registrations in July, with more than 27,000 vans sold in the first full month since lockdown restrictions eased.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the UK new light commercial vehicle market saw its first month of growth since January, with a 7.1% increase in registrations.

Growth was particularly pronounced in medium-sized vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes, which saw an 12.0% increase in registrations, and pick-ups, where dealers recorded a 24.9% increase in sales.

The only fall was in the light van (less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes) sector, where registrations dropped by -22.0%. Heavy vans made up the lion’s share of overall sales, with 17,566 registrations, an increase of 5.4%.

Meanwhile, there was a substantial 78.1% increase in 4×4 demand, but this class of vehicle represents a very small fraction of total LCV registrations.

The improvement comes against a backdrop of prolonged reduced demand, with overall LCV registrations down by -39.0% in the year to date. The latest SMMT Outlook estimates that around 270,000 LCVs will be registered by the end of the year, a drop of -26.3%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “With lockdown restrictions rolling back and businesses restarting operations, the van market is beginning to look more positive. Growth is likely to have been driven by pent up demand and the re-emergence of sectors such as construction.

“However, these green shoots of recovery could prove fragile given the uncertain economic situation. With new technology coming to the market and the need for operators to renew their fleets, maintaining overall business confidence will be crucial.”