The United Kingdom new light commercial vehicle market grew by 22% in February 2021, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
February is usually one of the weaker months of the year as many operators wait for the new March number plates, but 2021 saw the strongest February since 1998, with 17,205 new models hitting U.K. roads as demand from the construction sector and online deliveries drove new vehicle uptake, according to SMMT.
Performance in the year-to-date is up 9.5% overall, driven entirely by demand for popular 2.5-3.5t vans with some 6,069 more of these vehicles registered in the first two months of the year. However, the rest of the market continued to fall, struggling to overcome the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on business confidence.
“These figures are welcome news, but it’s important to remember that February is typically a small volume month ahead of the March plate change and we want to see this growth continue throughout the year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Capitalizing on this momentum will be important and an economic plan that encourages growth could help pivot the LCV market toward full recovery. With a clear roadmap now in place for how the nation can safely emerge out of lockdown, businesses can look to the next few months with increasing confidence and upgrade their fleets with the many latest, most efficient vans on the market.”
Larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tons and pickups experienced the biggest surge in demand, increasing 30% to 11,809 and 26.8% to 1,716 units respectively, SMMT reported. Meanwhile, 4x4s and medium sized van registrations were up a moderate 6.3% and 9%. However, smaller vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tons were down 25.3% to just 689 vehicles registered in the month.