Slight recovery in June LCV market, but YTD still down
Light commercial vehicle registrations rose by 1.8 per cent in June to 37,349 units. Year to date, the market remains lower than last year by -3.7 per cent with a total of 184,926 units registered in the first six months of 2017, according to the latest SMMT figures.
“It is reassuring to see the new light commercial market up to 3.5 tonnes recover in June with a 1.8 per cent increase after four months of decline. In the first half of the year, the market is still -3.7 per cent down on 2016, but remains stable”, said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.
The mid-size vans of 2.0-2.5 tonnes performed well in June with a growth of 29.9 per cent and a total of 6,188 units registered. The segment showed a consistent growth of 4.9 per cent over the first half of the year with 26,944 units. These vehicles tend to be purchased by businesses in the service industry which use them primarily to carry tools and ladders rather than transport goods and parcels.
Following 17 consecutive months of growth, demand for pickups remained buoyant in June, up 14.2 per cent on the same period last year and 18.2 per cent overall this year. The volumes registered in this sector are formidable with nearly 5,000 units registered in June and 27,050 put on the road in the first six months of 2017. These results make pickups the second largest segment of the market. The growth in this sector could be driven by a wide range of single double-cab pickups offered by most manufacturers and many tradesmen taking advantage of the lower benefit-in-kind taxation which these dual-purpose commercials offer.
The decline in demand for vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes is still of concern. Following a substantial double digit decrease in May, the sector was down by -5.4 per cent in June and is now -4.4 per cent lower than last year. These vehicles dominate the corporate and fleet market, where many of them are used for internet deliveries in all sectors including door-to-door supermarket deliveries.
The Ford Transit Custom was the market leader in June followed by the Mercedes Sprinter and the large Transit variant. Ford saw its sales grow by 8.4 per cent in June compared with the same period in 2016. With this result, it remains the market leader with a share of over 32 per cent this year. Ford is followed by Volkswagen, Peugeot and Mercedes with market shares of 11.3 per cent, 9.6 per cent, and 8.1 per cent, respectively.
Robinson added, “Positively, some important segments of the light commercial vehicle market came back strong in June, while others continued to perform well. Going forward, we expect demand to remain at similar levels.”