Van market stabilised in March, says NFDA

Light commercial registrations under 3.5 tonnes were down -0.9 per cent in March – and the same year to date for the first quarter of 2017”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK, commenting on the SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.

In 2016 light commercial registrations hit an all-time high, so a market stabilisation of less than 1 per cent was expected with the current concerns over currency devaluation and the growth of the economy.

The most significant growth came from the 2.5 – 3.5t sector which continued to grow 3.6 per cent in March and 3.3 per cent for the first quarter. This sector accounted for around 60 per cent of all registrations, indicating that the industrial corporate fleet market is still confident and robust.

Mid-size vans of 2.0-2.5t suffered a modest decline of -4 per cent in March, however were only down -½ per cent in the first quarter. Vans under 2t showed the largest decline by -31.6 per cent and were down by -27.7 per cent for the year to date. This sector is often used by the service industries as repair vans.

So far this year, there has been a huge expansion in demand for pick-up trucks with March recording growth of 23 per cent and the first quarter showing similar growth at 21.7 per cent – we are unsure what is driving this market this year.

Best-selling models for March were the Transit Custom, followed by the VW T6 Transporter and Ford Transit commercial. The top selling manufacturers were Ford followed by Volkswagen and Peugeot.

Mercedes vans recorded a market growth of 7.7 per cent in March and 5.5 per cent in the first three months of this year.

Robinson continues, “Whilst there is a level of uncertainty in the light CV market, most dealers expect it to remain stable and close to last year’s volumes.”

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