Moderate light commercial growth in August
Following the increase in July, the new van market also grew in August by 1.5 per cent to 15,619 units, SMMT figures reveal. Year to date, the market is now -2.8 per cent down on last year.
“It is positive to see that the new light commercial market grew moderately in August by 1.5 per cent in what is a low volume month in terms of registrations as customers wait for the new registration plate in September”, said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
Pickups performed well in August with a growth of 8.0 per cent compared with the same period last year. Pickups are becoming more and more important and they now represent the third largest segment in terms of volume of registrations behind the mid-size (2.0-2.5 tonnes) and big vans (2.5-3.5 tonnes) segments that lead the light commercials sector.
Mid-size vans 2.0-2.5 tonnes have also continued to grow throughout 2017. In August, the segment was up +39.9 per cent and year to date +11.4 per cent. These mid-size vans are often used by the service sector within the UK.
Large vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes generally show the largest increases thanks to the continued growth of internet sales which that require home deliveries. However, while the other indicators show public’s demand for online purchases is still growing, sales of larger vans have slowed, being down -0.6 per cent in August and -4 per cent in 2017. This might be due to corporate and fleet buyers temporarily holding back on placing new van orders until consumer confidence recovers as the implications of Brexit become clearer.
Robinson added: “The light commercial market is showing encouraging signs of stability, especially considering the challenges being faced by the industry, and it seems set to continue to perform at these levels.”