‘Steady growth’ in new van sales in May

The UK new van market saw steady growth in May 2016, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Demand for new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) rose 1.9 per cent, with more than 28,000 hitting British roads – the highest number on record for the month.

Year-to-date figures paint a similar picture, with a 2.9 per cent rise in demand to 158,402 units in 2016. Heavy vans (>2.5-3.5t) continue to dominate the market this year, enjoying the largest growth with a 13.3 per cent increase on 2015 and LCVs in this segment making up 62.0 per cent of total registrations. Pick-ups are also fuelling the overall rise in demand – 18,674 were registered in the first five months of the year, up 9.6 per cent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Although May was a record breaking month for the UK’s light commercial vehicle market, the pace of growth is easing and is indicative of the performance we anticipate this year following the very high levels of demand seen in 2015. Providing there are no political or economic shocks to business confidence over the coming months, we expect the LCV sector’s good health to prevail during the remainder of 2016 as consumer appetite for online deliveries continues to grow.”

”It is positive to that the 3.5T and under sector of vans continued to grow in May with an increase of 1.9 per cent,” said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK..

Robinson continued, “There was a decline in registrations of lighter weight commercials from car-derived vans less than 2T and mid weight CV’s up to 2.5T. These vehicles are typically used in the service sector and by the self-employed to carry tools and equipment. The decline in these two sectors was down -15.7 per cent and -20.1 per cent respectfully and only heightens the reliance on the demand for the large 2.5 -3.5T commercials that showed growth of 13.3 per cent in the month.

“This sector is fast becoming the main contributor in the market – recording 96,241 registrations in the first 5 months of 2016 against a total LCV market figure on 155,266 units in the same period.

“Overall the sub 3.5T light commercial market has performed well over the last few years, however we predict it will remain a stable market with further growth limited as the market prefers to stay away from operator controlled and HGV ‘O licenced’ commercials over 3.5T.”

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