The U.K. new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market saw its first month of growth since January, with a 7.1% increase in registrations, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In total, 27,701 new LCVs joined Britain’s roads. 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, said the SMMT. The only fall was in the light van sector, where registrations dropped by 22%. Heavy vans made up the lion’s share of overall sales, with 17,566 registrations, an increase of 5.4%.
“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," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “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.”
Meanwhile, there was a substantial 78.1% increase in 4x4 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% 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%.