-  Graphic: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Graphic: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

The United Kingdom new light commercial vehicle market enjoyed growth for the first month of the year as registrations of large vans single-handedly drove demand, surging 25.4% as all other segments experience double-digit decline, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Registrations for LCVs rose 2% in January with 24,029 vehicles hitting U.K. roads as new models and deals drove fleet renewal, according to SMMT. Although the fluctuating nature of fleet renewal often impacts the first month of the year, this year opened with the highest volume January since 1990, 10.5% ahead of five-year average, SMMT said.

Although growth is expected for the LCV sector in 2021, SMMT’s latest market outlook has been downgraded to reflect ongoing challenges, according to the organization. The forecast predicts LCV registrations to rise 17.5% to 343,850 by year end, down from earlier predictions of 375,000 vehicles.

“January’s figures are welcome news, particularly after the difficult past year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Although one month’s performance does not full recovery make, the future must involve measures that can deliver long-term changes for the sector if we are to meet ambitious targets and address both climate change and air quality goals. The fastest way to do this is by encouraging uptake of the latest low emission vehicles, regardless of fuel type, and business confidence remains vital for this transition.”

Converse from the demand of large vans the drove registrations in January, registrations of small vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tons halved was down 50%, and the market for medium vans weighing more than 2.0-2.5 tons declined by 16.2%. Meanwhile, demand for new pickups and 4x4s fell by 25.8% and 30.6% respectively.

January 2021 saw a rise of low emission LCVs, with battery electric vehicle (BEV) market share rising to 2.22% and 533 battery plug-in vans joining U.K. roads. Meanwhile, 96.4% of all new vehicles registered are powered by diesel, with fleet renewal to the latest Euro standard technologies crucial for a sustainable transition for the sector, SMMT found.

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