SMMT figures show the new van market achieved a steady performance in February, with registrations at the same level as this time last year, when the sector recorded a seven-year high. 13,891 new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) were registered in February – traditionally one of the quietest months of the year.
Registrations of new vans below 2.0 tonnes and between 2.0-2.5 tonnes fell by 10.5 per cent and 23.9 per cent respectively in the month, but this was offset by an uplift of 6.2 per cent in the 2.5-3.5 segment as demand for heavier vehicles continued to grow.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “After a record-breaking year for new van registrations in 2015, it was inevitable that such rapid growth would level off. The market’s performance so far this year is in line with expectations, and although further stabilisation is expected over the coming months, this is a sector in good health – with February’s figures still at high levels.”
”In what is traditionally a quite month for commercial vehicle sector as businesses and the self-employed wait for the new 16-plate, this February proved to be no different”, said Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA.
Robinson continued, “Sales of vans under 2.5T often used as service vehicles by tradesman were down -18.8 per cent. 3397 units were registered – 788 fewer than February 2015.
“Maximum weight vans in the 2.5 – 3.5T sector recorded a growth of 6.2 per cent over the same period last year – selling 8864 units. This sector accounts for 60 per cent of all light commercial vehicles under 3.5T and are typically used to deliver online goods. This suggests that online purchases are on the high as the confidence in the economy improves and consumer spending increases.
“Following an exceptional year in 2015 for light commercial vehicles, we anticipate the market to stabilise and look forward to seeing what next month’s 16-plate change will bring.”